Western Cape Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  10 Dec 2009

EXPORTS: Explosive' Exports Into Africa


Recent Western Cape Business News

WHEN UAL (Universal Africa Lines) set up a South African office in Cape Town in June 2009, it came with decades of experience in the shipment of explosives and other hazardous cargo into Africa.

This unique focus area positions local explosives manufacturers exceedingly well in the race to supply the evergreen African mining industries – a particularly opportune development as South Africa develops into an increasingly important trade hub into Africa.

UAL has supplied exploration and production projects from Namibia and Angola to Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria for 30 years, says MD of UAL SA, Haakon Røstad.

Before 2009, it did so exclusively from the US, UK and Europe, until an ever greater focus on indigenous African trade brought Cape Town within its sights.

Røstad says UAL retains a commitment to Africa, with Cape Town merely the latest addition to an extensive portfolio of investments in African skills, offices and even an oil centre in Equatorial Guinea.

Røstad reports that UAL SA is currently bringing its SA export portfolio in line with its international activities, with a move to include explosives and other hazardous materials.

A number of negotiations are under way, he says, with the early focus falling on Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, Gabon and Congo. “Various explosives are being used to extract minerals of all descriptions. The call is for detonators and explosives in a number of countries.”

He says smaller manufacturers are in the running as well. As a small, privately-owned shipping line, UAL requires the least amount of inducement to enter smaller ports along the African coastline.

Given Africa’s indigenisation laws, Røstad says SA manufacturers have a captive opportunity in the West African market.

It’s an opening one simply cannot pass up. Since South Africa is a preferred origin of supply into Africa, exporters almost don’t need to contend with the normal problems of the export market, such as a too-strong currency, global competition and so forth.

Couple this with UAL’s extensive experience in serving a market that is perennially active on the continent, and South African exporters of explosives are in for a good ride.”

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