What are South Africa’s unique competitive advantages?
Kenny: Barring the political situation in South Africa, there is a requirement for all sorts of businesses to operate. Without businesses such as ours there would not be a South Africa. With all the challenges that we face there is definitely business here. Companies such as ours also want to grow the economy and it is people like us that are needed in the country to perform our duties. It’s people like us in this sector that look after certain parts of the economy, which keeps it moving. I would say it is mainly about trusting South Africans. We as South Africans are committed to improve and perform.
What opportunities do you see for CMV Logistics on the African continent?
Kenny: The key thing is the physical transport itself – trucks and vehicles are a business on its own;it is related to us but we are not directly involved and instead, outsource our transport. Our core business is to group cargo to certain destinations in Africa, consolidate, put them on a truck and have it away. Our other function is customs related as we work with customs which is South African Revenue Services. There is a lot of opportunity as we specialise into Malawi; that’s our core business. We work with Malawi because I worked previously in an environment like this. I was involved with Malawi and that’s how it started off. Malawi is an importing country; they rely on South Africa and overseas to source their goods. There are, however, opportunities outside Malawi in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique etc…
“…Barring the political situation in South Africa, there is a requirement for all sorts of businesses to operate. Without businesses such as ours there would not be a South Africa…”
What challenges do you find when transporting goods across African borders?
Kenny: The major problem is the vehicles themselves. Sometimes when they travel up north, they struggle to come back which leads to delay causing a shortage of vehicles. In terms of regulatory issues, we have our dealings and our customs along the way but there is nothing that we can’t handle and resolve.
Do you think your current size gives you the agility to compete with the larger competitors in your sector?
Kenny: Yes, because the larger companies do operate in a place like Malawi for example. They don’t have the service that we have. A large company would not be able to provide what we provide because they are not afloat with the market in Malawi. They might not have the agency that we do, so the support they will have there is minimal. They may be a big corporate company, but they struggle with certain aspects of the business. It is about personal relationships.
What are some key milestones you would like to reach for CMV Logistics?
Kenny: The future goal is to have our own trucks and that way we would have better control of the market. CMV had other matters to resolve over the past five years, which we have now overcome. From here on it’s a matter of saving to have those vehicles on our site. If we have our own vehicles, rates can be competitive for other destinations.
What was your initial interest in logistics and what inspired you to eventually create CMV Logistics?
Kenny: I would thank my background as I have always worked for a freight company going back 38 or 40 years now. My passion was moving freight. My last job pushed me to move on my own and now I don’t have a boss.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who want to start their own business?
Kenny: First of all, they have to be brave, they have to inject capital into the business and they have to say to themselves that this idea will turn money over. That’s exactly what happened with me. I gave myself a year with the capital that I invested and said to myself, “If it doesn’t work in a year, it doesn’t work.”
As a family-run business what aspects in terms of the company culture do you instill within this organisation and the employees working for you?
Kenny: The biggest thing is for the staff to be saving and to utilise their income wisely. As the saying goes, ‘it’s not about how much you can earn, it’s about how much you can save’ – this is what I pitch to them. And as much as I like to delegate, it’s been my job all my life and I like to get my hands dirty. Doing it myself makes me happy.