Spedag Interfreight was formed in 2011 from the merger of Spedag East Africa and Interfreight East Africa, making it one of the biggest clearing and forwarding companies in East Africa, with revenues reaching EUR 80 million (US$ 110 million) in 2011.
Kampala is the regional hub for the company, which also works in Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan, Burundi and DR Congo. It employs 700 people, 257 of them in Uganada (97 percent of whom are Ugandan nationals).
Spedag Interfreight offers complete supply chain and forwarding services: shipping agency; agency and husbandry; ocean freight; air freight; rail and trucking; handling and transporting out of gauge cargo; heavy lifting; customs clearance; stevedoring; warehousing and distribution; marine chartering; barges, and advisory services.
In Uganda, Spedag signed a freight forwarding service contract with Tullow OIl in 2002 but, under competitive pressure from other logistics companies, began to ramp up its oil and gas related capacities in 2007, when foreign investment in Ugandan oilfields had begun to rise.
In 2011, Spedag Interfreight established an oil and gas department in Kampala, and this division has now expanded to Kenya and Tanzania.
The company has also partnered with Panalpina, a Swiss international logistics frim, in order to improve their expertise and capabilities particularly in the oil sector. Panalpina is the largest logistics company in the oil and gas sector and the fifth largest logistics company in the world. A senior Panalpina staff member works out of Spedag’s Kampala offices to facilitate close collaboration.
Spedag Interfreight signed its most recent contract with Tullow Oil in July 2012 to provide freight forwarding and customs clearance services. It also does business with Total, CNOOC, Schlumberger, Polaris and OGEC.
lthough the oil and gas sector is significant, it still amounts to less than 10 percent of Spedag Interfreight’s business. Other industries served by the company include energy and power, telecommunications, road construction, NGO/UN relief work and manufacturing.
Spedag Interfreight’s strengths are in international logistics more than in-country transportation. The ability to take decision locally, being a Ugandan company, is also a perceived advantage.
The company outsources most of its transport division work to other companies that work exclusively for Spedag Interfreight. This strategy was adopted from Panalpina, and allows Spedag Interfreight to focus on the on servicing and providing expertise to their clients.
As Uganda moves towards oil production, Spedag Interfreight expects to invest in a supply base in the Hoima region to serve as a hub for oil operators in each of the three production blocks. Development is expected to begin in 2013.
For more, see the company website. Report by Chantal Sirisena