Tough times made Unifreight 'sterner'

Tough times made Unifreight 'sterner'
Published: 07 June 2018
UNIFREIGHT Africa says the tough times which it went through over the past few years have made it more focused.

The logistics, freight and passenger transport services provider's chief executive officer (CEO), Robert Kulpers, said the company's hard work over the years started to pay off in 2017. He said hard times made the company sterner.

"2017 was a watershed year for Unifreight, the pain and hard work in the prior years is starting to bear fruit. Coming through the lean years has instilled a sterner discipline and forced us to right-size the business," Kulpers said at the company's annual general meeting last week.

Unifreight is coming off a period where it had to go through some "painful" restructuring which included laying off about 200 employees and effecting pay cuts on the remaining staff and management. The company also sold off the local Pioneer services as part of an empowerment deal with its workers.

Kulpers said the company had also benefited from shifting its business to the low margin operations that include tobacco transportation.

"Our conventional and riskier strategic moves of doing more low-margin less than truck-load and tobacco as opposed to doing full-load business have proved very effective and increased the overall yield in dollars per kilogramme of freight moved," Kulpers said.

The company says it recorded a 17 percent growth during the first four months of the year, which is five percent ahead of budget.

Profit for the period was 138 percent ahead of budget, although it was coming off a low base. The company expects to maintain performance ahead of budget throughout the rest of the year.

Unfreight was exploring electronic commerce which it hopes to tap into after noting the opportunities from the dramatic growth in that space lately.

"The company believes there is a lot of potential in this space, which can be tapped through Information Communication Technology solutions such as applications and plug-ins to the swift traditional core business," said the CEO.

Unifreight says it does not see the recent emergence of railway as a threat but a compliment to its business, which is the "last mile transporter".
- fingaz
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