SIFAX’s GIANT STRIDES REDEFINING NIGERIA’s BUSINESS LANDSCAPE

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Undoubtedly, Nigeria needs companies and investors that will step to the plate, and take the country to the desired heights. SIFAX Group has done that in more ways than one, and this piece focuses on these achievements and strides the Group has made since it first opened for business over three decades ago.

The SIFAX GROUP

SIFAX Group, which began operations as SIFAX Nigeria Limited in 1988 has become a big conglomerate, with diverse investments in maritime, aviation, haulage, logistics, oil and gas, financial services and hospitality, among other. The Group operates globally with presence in the United States, United Kingdom, Ghana, South Africa, Holland, Belgium, Morocco, Spain and Djibouti.

Services provided by the group include freight forwarding (sea and air), ports operations, haulage and logistics, groupage, cargo consolidation, warehousing, ship agency, ship chartering, stevedoring, off-dock services, airport ground operations, packing and removal, marine services, importation and sales of crude, plant hire, financial services and hospitality.

Services rendered at its inception included freight forwarding, haulage and warehousing operations, as well as adjunct import and export support services. However, it has become a multi-national company with subsidiaries in Nigeria, Africa and overseas.

Ports and Cargo Handling Services Limited

Ports and Cargo Handling Services is the port operations arm of SIFAX Group. The company is managed by a team of professionals – expatriates and Nigerians – with proven track record of achievements; working with a cream of well trained and motivated staff to ensure that the goals of the organisation are met.

Ports and Cargo Handling Services was among the few terminal operators given concession to run ports in Nigeria in the light of government’s decision to build capacity in shipping through public -private sector partnership.

The company commenced operations effectively on May 10, 2006, at Terminal C in Tin Can Island Port, Lagos, Nigeria. The terminal has four berths with a combined length of 795 meters and 13 meters draft and conveniently handles bulk/general cargo carriers, as well as container and RORO vessels.

Also, it has completely changed the face of port terminal management in the country with its multimillion dollars investment in functional and modern cargo handling equipment including shore cranes, RTGs, terminal tractors, among others. There has been a massive investment in the provision of other infrastructure at the terminal as well.

With other innovations like computerised container tracking and ship planning, the company has offered port users excellent service that has turned the terminal into a port of first choice in Nigeria for vessel owners, ship agents, clearing agents, among others. Another critical service provided by the company is stevedoring.

It operates with a dynamic pool of well-trained dockworkers who are experts in the loading and discharge of a wide range of cargoes. Some of its clients include Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), Maersk, United Arab Shipping Company (UASC), MNM African Shipping Line, EuroAfrica Shipping Line, among others.

SIFAX Haulage & Logistics Limited

Also, SIFAX Haulage & Logistics Limited prides itself as one of the leading haulage companies in the West African sub-region. Over the years, it has expanded its capacity to deliver goods anywhere across West Africa.

The key objective of the company is to satisfy the customer by providing a timely and cost-effective service. The company operates a large fleet of functional trucks equipped with relevant cargo security devices, communications and tracking systems to monitor cargo movement on transit.

Despite its security and safety measures, the company has valid Goods-in-Transit insurance for all categories of cargo to completely secure the goods of clients. Today, it has achieved door to door delivery, as it provides total cargo delivery solution in the chain of international freight forwarding and Customs clearance.

Its personnel are trained to monitor customers’ consignments at all levels and stages on transit for safe arrival of the goods. This way, company saves time, reduces cost and unnecessary anxiety from clients.

It Corporate Affairs Manager, Muyiwa Akande, said: “We are a multi-modal transport operator, diverse warehousing operator and fleet owner based in Nigeria and with branch offices in other parts of the world. We deliver clients’ cargo when and where they need it and our services are customised to each client’s needs and specifications at competitive prices.

We employ modern, advanced Information and Communications Technology systems and ensure that clear tracks of our multi-modal logistics chain are followed via our tracking system. The on-line access for our customers is 95 per cent ready.”

SIFAX Offdock Nigeria Limited

SIFAX Offdock Nigeria Limited was established in 2004 to efficiently operate offdock facilities and services of the Group.

With the terminal located within two minutes’ drive from both the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports, SIFAX offdock is strategically located and accessible to the major ports from where it easily receives cargo as a temporary hold and provides easy exit for custom-cleared cargoes to any part of the country.

The terminal has a huge capital investment outlay in digital and modern terminal facilities, automated handling equipment, as well as latest Information and Communications Technology and security devices.

In addition to well-trained private security personnel and local arrow men, alsSIFAX Offdock also has well-armed mobile policemen to provide 24-hour daily security network services to ensure absolute safety of cargo, facilities and human life.

The enormous cargo capacity of the offdock area has immensely supported the speedy decongestion of cargoes from the main ports, and the expertise of our well-trained workforce has aided faster delivery to consignees. SIFAX Offdock, Trinity, occupies an area of 31,000 square metres with capacity to hold 2,000 units of containers i.e. 1,375 x 20” and 625 x 40”.

This is one of the few terminals in Nigeria (both conventional and offdock) that has functional and effective Reefer containers storage facilities with 200 plug-in points (with room for further additions). It has adequate power supply and two (2nos) 500KVA; One (1no) 350KVA and one (1no) 250KVA generating sets as back up for 24 hours operations.

The company offers warehousing services, which include efficient operations of bonded warehouses and terminals; as well as cargo and freight forwarding operations with efficient framework that monitors movement of cargoes from the consignor to the consignee’s warehouse in a cost effective and timely schedule.

Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) Plc

Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) Plc is a publicly quoted company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. It is incorporated as an aviation ground handling service provider under the Nigerian Company & Allied Matters Act of 1990.

SAHCO, which was formerly known as Skypower Aviation Handling Company Limited before it was privatised and handed over to the SIFAX Group on December 23, 2009, was carved out of the defunct Nigeria Airways as part of the Ministry of Aviation reform of 1996.

SAHCO business model is aimed at delivering premium service, and this has necessitated massive investment in personnel development, fleet replacement and infrastructure development.

SIFAX Shipping Company Limited

With the aim of offering its global clientele unique one-stop shop for shipping services, SIFAX Shipping Company Limited was founded to provide a variety of complementary, quality shipping services.

The company has taken advantage of the global network of the Group to expand its shipping operations in the whole of West African sub-region representing its business interests and those of other renowned ship owners and shipping companies across the world as ship agent.

The company’s bouquet of services includes Ship Agency, Ship Husbandry, Protective Agency/Owners Representation, Crew Change and Groupage.

With a crop of well-motivated and experienced workforce, SIFAX Shipping Company Limited has become a force to be reckoned with going by the quality of service enjoyed by discerning clients that it services both locally and internationally.

Its clients include MNM African Shipping Line, Frigo Glass, Dufril Limited, International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), ETCO Technical, GMT, 7UP etc.

SIFAX Clearing and Forwarding Limited

Clearing and Forwarding Limited handles the clearance and delivery of consignment from Customs and other agencies in both the seaports and airports.

Akande noted: “Our airfreight services include full documentation, customs clearance, tracking and tracing and airport door -to -door while the sea freight services we offer are FCL and LCL import/ export, import and export customs clearance, customs shipping documentation and packing and crating, among others.

We also offer reliable, speedy and flexible door-to-door delivery of consignments even to remote locations across the West-African sub-region.”

The company’s excellent relationship with relevant government agencies and private stakeholders like Customs and terminal operators has given it an unbeatable edge to deliver the quality service it is reputed for. Another key factor is the adoption of advanced information technology that enables it to handle multiple cargoes clearing at the same time.

Over the years, the company has proved its mettle as a reliable and dependable licensed Customs agent and international freight forwarder. The testimony of this is the quality of the clients the company has worked for since its inception.

The company’s major clients include the American Embassy, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), ETCO Technical, etc.

SIFAX Oil & Gas Limited

SIFAX Oil & Gas Limited was incorporated in 2010 and commenced business same year. It participated in the government regulated international trading of petroleum products in 2010 and 2011.

In 2012, a parcel of land was acquired to build a 60,000,000MT (sixty million metric tons) capacity tank farm while it has recently acquired a licence to build a 120,000 bpd (One hundred and twenty thousand barrel per day) capacity Greenfield refinery in Nigeria.

The technical study, feasibility study and environmental impact assessment have all been concluded. Upon conclusion of the two major projects, SIFAX Oil and Gas Limited is poised to fully establish its presence as a key player in the Nigerian energy downstream sector with opportunities in the West-African sub region also beckoning.

SIFAX Oil and Gas Limited is set to be a world class one-stop shop for all downstream business activities ranging from refining of the crude oil to the storage, sale and distribution of the refined products.

SIFAX Logistics and Marine Services Limited

SIFAX Logistics & Marine Services (SLMS) Limited was established solely as a vehicle for the growth and maximisation of Nigerian local content participation.

SLMS is 100 per cent owned Nigerian company and a provider of special transportation with respect to offshore support services, marine vessel transportation, towage and other related marine services to both offshore and onshore oil terminals in Nigeria and the West African region.

The company specialises in provision of high quality marine support solutions putting safety and the environment at the forefront. SLMS Limited assures high standard by engaging well-trained and competent personnel as well as deploying the highest quality assets in all its operations. According to Akande, “Safety means everything to our clients and to us.

We believe that all accidents and incidents are preventable and that no business objective is so important that it should be pursued at the expense of safety. Unconditionally, living this principle in all our operations is a matter not only of maintaining a solid safety record, but also of protecting human lives and environment. We do it safely or not at all.

“We also recognise that offering second-to-none safety and support solutions requires not only the best hardware but also the best people. Our ambition is to attract and continuously develop the industry’s best craftsmen offshore as well as onshore wherever our clients do business. Innovation is not only a matter of inventing and applying new technology.

We pursue second-tonone and cost effective solutions by integrating great technology, great minds and great skills. Recognising that no client is just another client, and that no job is just another job, we tailor solutions to match the geographical, maritime and business environment in which our clients operate.”

Sky Capital & Financial Allied Int’l Ltd

Akande added: “We enable businesses to thrive, and help our clients to maximise their returns whilst realising their most important goals.

We are poised to build a firm uniquely equipped to achieve set objectives and be reputable for quality research, investment expertise and value-added services with excellent customer centric approach to clients locally and internationally. “At Sky Capital, our people are our most valued asset.

The quality of our people is the cornerstone of our ability to serve our clients. For this reason, we invest significantly in identifying exceptional people, developing their skills, and creating an environment that fosters their growth as leaders.

We encourage entrepreneurship and innovation at all levels because we believe they are important to developing good quality and committed professionals. Our hallmark is to strategically position ourselves to take advantage of growth opportunities within Africa and major international markets on behalf of our clients.”

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