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Supply Chain

Greening your Supply Chain



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Businesses of all sizes, both new and old, are increasingly adopting more sustainable practices in response to the worldwide environmental issue.

Greener methods decrease waste, improve the environment, and satisfy environmentally concerned clients. It can also increase efficiency and lower operational expenses, resulting in more earnings.

Reduced environmental impact, reduced costs

According to the World Trade Organization, global product and commercial services trade have expanded by around 7% per year over the previous 30 years. This entails that businesses are utilising more energy, packaging materials, and warehouse space year after year.

Fortunately, many organisations are implementing strategies to reduce emissions and waste throughout their supply chains. This not only improves the environment, but it may also save operational expenses. Optimising transportation routes, for example, saves CO2 emissions and fuel costs. Packaging optimization minimises waste and packing material costs.

All while these practices are effective, they stem from informed decision-making. How would you know where there is extra logistical expenditure if you are lacking the data to understand where you’re overspending?

Public Image considerations

Adopting green supply chain efforts may improve your public image, which is vital given current consumers’ high rise in environmental awareness.

The growing pressure to hold various governments and companies responsible cannot be overlooked. Customers who care about the environment want businesses to respond to the need to manage our planet’s finite resources responsibly and sustainably.

Where to start?

To green your supply chain, consider all parts of your organisation. Everything from production and storage to shipping and waste disposal is evaluated with the objective of selecting goods, services, and procedures with the least environmental effect.

Understanding your company’s spending, supply chain, and consumption trends is critical for enhancing sustainability.

Below are a few ideas for reducing your environmental footprint, cutting expenses, and increasing efficiency:

  • Sourcing locally = Reduce waste, CO2 emissions, and fuel expenses by obtaining supplies locally.
  • Down-size warehousing = Reduce shipping distances and expenses by employing smaller regional warehouses.
  • Ship materials directly to the point of use = Ship raw materials for manufacturing directly to the site of use to save gasoline and perhaps minimise the requirement for protective packaging.
  • Conserve energy = by employing low-voltage lighting and motion sensors or timers on lighting systems in your warehouse.
  • Go electric = Reduce your paper use by switching to electronic technologies.
  • Consolidate shipments = Shipments should be aligned and consolidated to decrease carbon emissions and perhaps reduce labour and fuel expenses.

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New Multimodal Inland Port Association Launched at Transport Forum



Railway freight train in South Africa

A significant milestone was reached in the South African logistics sector with the recent launch of the Multimodal Inland Port Association (MIPA). This new association was launched during the Transport Forum, an online event on 23 May 2024 attended by over 250 delegates, with a distinguished panel from industry, Transnet and academia. The event marked what many are calling the dawn of a rail renaissance in the country.

MIPA addresses a critical need in South Africa’s logistics landscape, which is increasingly grappling with rising costs and severe congestion. The association aims to act as the unified voice for inland ports across the nation, focusing on promoting, supporting, and advocating for the increased movement of cargo from road to rail.

Warwick Lord, MIPA

“Transporting more cargo by rail has become an imperative, considering the growing cost of logistics in South Africa. It is no longer just a nice-to-have,” says Warwick Lord, MIPA Chairman.

MIPA aims to reform the rail industry through private investment, foster trade activities that meet social objectives, and facilitate the crucial transfer of goods from road to rail. By optimising industrial and logistics activities through efficient multimodalism, logistics costs will be reduced, and efficiency will be improved.

Formed by leading entities in the transportation sector, including the Cato Ridge Inland Port, Tambo Springs Development Company, Portfutures, Autoforce, Mac Group, Cape Town Inland Port, the Cape Winelands Airport, the Musina Intermodal Terminal, RailRunner South Africa, and RailRunner Services, the association is committed to collaborating on best practices, particularly in through private sector participation (PSP). It will work closely with government and state-owned enterprises.

“We aim to create one voice for inland ports, driving workable multimodal solutions that deliver efficiency, cost reduction, and much-needed resilience to the South African supply chain. By doing so, we can mitigate the impact of external shocks and ensure stability in the logistics sector,” says Lord.

MIPA’s strategy to drive more cargo from road to rail includes using innovative multi-nodal technology and improving collaboration with other freight hubs and stakeholders, to optimise each supply chain link from a cost and efficiency perspective.

“Inland ports increase accessibility through long-distance transport corridors, leading to lower distribution costs and improved capacity by consolidating freight volumes,” explains Lord. “These multi-modal terminals can handle large amounts of cargo continuously, allowing sea ports to extend their cargo base, which is crucial given the increasing size of vessels.”

Furthermore, inland ports provide significant dedicated logistics developments, proximity to rail and highways, ample truck parking, and less traffic congestion.

Lord says MIPA is dedicated to facilitating free trade and promoting sustainable practices. The association will support its members in complying with sustainable development goals and the SADC Vision 2050.

Dr Juanita Maree

Dr Juanita Maree, CEO of the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF), highlighted the launch of MIPA: “Our logistics network is at a turning point, with more alignment across the country than ever before. By working together, we can achieve significant advancements. It is crucial to continuously foster dialogue, share insights, and raise awareness to build a sustainable supply chain for the future.”

According to Lord, MIPA will aim to expand its membership, encouraging more stakeholders to join and contribute to the conversation.

“The business community plays a vital role in developing and facilitating trade within the logistics and supply chain environment. We will lobby warehousing, transport, and consulting businesses through these channels to join MIPA. We will also seek to include State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) – as they are significant players nationally and globally – while fostering a close-working environment with the government,” concludes Lord.

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Freight Forwarding

LTL Shipping for Small Businesses in South Africa



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What is LTL Shipping?

LTL (Less-Than-Truckload) Shipping is a method of transporting goods where the shipment does not fill an entire truck.

Instead, multiple shippers share the truck’s space, each paying only for the portion they use. It stands in contrast to FTL (Full-Truckload) shipping, where one shipper rents the entire truck. While other forms of freight tailor to large businesses LTL is best suited for small businesses and private citizens.

Why is LTL Shipping So Important for Small Businesses in SA?

1. LTL is Cost-Effective

Instead of paying for an entire truck, businesses only pay for the space their cargo occupies. This shared approach significantly reduces shipping costs.

2. Flexibility

Businesses aren’t restricted to large shipments. They can send smaller batches as and when needed, aiding in better inventory management.

3. Increased Frequency

Without the need to accumulate goods for a full truckload, businesses can ship more frequently, enhancing customer satisfaction through quick delivery times.

How Does LTL Shipping Work in South Africa?

1. The Initial Pick-up

The shipping process starts with the transport company picking up the goods from the business premises. Since these are smaller shipments, pick-up schedules are typically more flexible.

2. Consolidation

The cargo is then taken to a local terminal where it’s combined with other shipments heading in the same direction.

3. Intermediate Handling

Unlike FTL where goods are directly transported to their destination, LTL shipments might be offloaded and reloaded onto different trucks at various distribution points. This process ensures optimal space utilisation on each vehicle.

4. Delivery

Once the consolidated truck reaches the destination city or region, shipments are offloaded at another terminal. They are then loaded onto smaller delivery trucks for final delivery.

Advantages of LTL Shipping for Small Businesses in South Africa

1. Reduced Costs

As previously mentioned, paying only for space used can substantially cut shipping expenses. This is crucial to businesses such as small businesses that don’t have the cash reserves typically seen in larger businesses.

2. Professional Handling

Given that LTL shipments undergo multiple handlings at terminals, there’s often a higher standard of packaging and care. What this translates into is less risk of damage or loss of your cargo.

3. Tracking Capabilities

Many LTL carriers offer advanced tracking systems, enabling businesses to know the real-time location of their goods.

4. Additional Services

1. Inside Delivery: Gone are the days of your items being left curbside, vulnerable to theft or weather conditions. With inside delivery, your freight is brought directly into your home, office, or designated area, ensuring it reaches its final destination safely.

2. Liftgate Service: Ever had a heavy shipment that seemed impossible to unload? No worries! Liftgate service offers a hydraulic lift to safely and efficiently lower your items from the truck to the ground. It’s a back-saver and a time-saver all rolled into one!

3. Notification Services: Stay in the loop with real-time notifications about your shipment’s status. Whether it’s an ETA update or a delivery confirmation, these timely alerts keep you informed every step of the way.

How to Choose LTL Provider in South Africa

1. Do Your Research

Several transport companies offer LTL shipping in South Africa. Businesses need to research, compare, and understand the specific offerings of each. Additionally, it’s important to take a step back and have a hard look at the LTL providers track record to ensure the LTL provider can reliability meet your shipping needs.

2. Negotiate

Given the competitive nature of the industry, there’s often room for negotiation, especially if the business plans on regular shipments.

3. Check for Compliance & Insurance

When you’re picking an LTL provider in South Africa, don’t forget to dig a bit into the boring stuff, such as making sure they’re up to standard on all the legal and safety rules.

First off, you’ll want to check that they’ve got full insurance coverage for different kinds of goods. Trust me, you don’t want to be left picking up the pieces if something goes wrong during shipping.

Make sure they’re following all South Africa’s transport and safety laws to the letter. It’s not just about dodging fines or legal headaches, it’s about knowing your goods are in safe and responsible hands during their journey.

So go ahead, ask them about their certifications and safety records. It’s a small step that could save you a lot of trouble down the road.


At the end of the day if you’re running a small business in South Africa and don’t need a whole truck to move your items, LTL is your new best friend. It’s budget-friendly and extremely flexible, perfect for getting your products where they need to go without breaking the bank.

But don’t just jump into it take a little time to understand how LTL works and pick the right shipping partner.

It’s much like dating, you’ve got to find ‘the one’ that will treat your goods right and keep your customers happy. A little homework now will pay off big time in keeping your supply chain smooth and your customers smiling.

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Freight Forwarding

The Top 5 Benefits of Railway Freight Transportation




Railway freight train in South Africa

In the world of moving stuff around, there’s something special about railway freight transportation. It’s like the unsung hero of hauling goods over long distances, along with the other five different modes of transportation in freight forwarding. Think of it as one of the Marvel superheroes regarding the transportation of goods.

Table of contents

In this article, we’ll be exploring:

Let’s get started.

What is Railway Freight Transportation?

So, imagine goods and stuff getting hauled on trains. That’s railway freight transportation for you. It’s been around for ages, evolving from those old steam engines to modern marvels that crisscross continents. Trains hauling cargo? Yep, not hauling humans, but definitely hauling cargo.

The Importance of Railway Freight Transportation

Why would we care about railway freight transportation? Think of railway freight transportation as the backbone of how stuff gets around. It’s the way raw materials, finished products, and all sorts of things make their journey. This mode of transport is known for being super reliable and consistent, which helps keep trade, industries, and economies humming.

It’s the heavyweight champion when it comes to carrying big loads. Think coal, minerals, and those grains that end up as your morning cereal. It’s also the magic that connects landlocked spots to those big, bustling ports, opening doors to global markets.

The Top 5 Benefits of Railway Freight Transportation

Railway freight transportation isn’t perfect and comes with its own challenges, however, it does provide us with a fair number of benefits too. The top five are listed below:

1.     Money Saver

Here’s the cool part – trains are like bulk carriers of the transportation world. They can haul so much stuff in one go that it ends up being cheaper to move things by rail, especially over long distances.

2.     Earth-Friendly

Trains are the eco-warriors of transportation. They’re like the zen masters of carbon emissions. Trains emit way fewer greenhouse gases than trucks and planes per unit of cargo. So, going for trains helps cut down on the planet’s frown lines.

3.     Always On Time and Safe

Trains are like the clockwork buddies of cargo transport. They’re known for sticking to schedules and being reliable. Plus, they’ve got a lower risk of accidents compared to roads, so it’s a safer way to move your goods.

4.     Super Long-Distance Magic

Need to move things really, really far? Trains are your go-to pals. They’re like the marathon runners of hauling goods across countries and continents. Fewer pit stops, less hassle, and tons of efficiency.

5.     Traffic Tamer

You know that traffic headache we all feel? Trains help ease the pain. By moving some cargo from trucks to trains, we’re giving the roads some breathing space. That means smoother traffic, fewer road jams, and happier drivers.

Final thoughts

When it comes to moving stuff, railway freight transportation is like that reliable friend you can always count on. It’s budget-friendly, planet-friendly, and just a rock star at getting things from A to B.

As businesses look for smart, eco-friendly ways to move things, railway freight transportation steps up as a real champ. It’s like having your cake and eating it too – efficient, cost-effective, and a friend to the environment.

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