RIGHT ON TIME

Ghana 2016 | TRANSPORT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Maame Yaa Roberson, General Manager of TNT Western Express & Logistics Limited, on expanding market share, bolstering capacity, and increasing competitiveness.

Maame Yaa Roberson
BIOGRAPHY
Maame Yaa Roberson has over nine years of experience in customer service, human resource management, administration, and overseeing operational functions while managing large groups of employees. She recently completed her MBA in Marketing Option with a specialization in Services Marketing. She was the customer service agent for DHL Ghana Ltd from 2007-2009 before joining TNT in 2009 as a customer service manager. In 2014 she became the acting general manager, and in May 2015 she became the General Manager.

What is your current market share?

I worked with DHL for 16 months and was then called by Stellar Express, which had acquired the TNT franchise. It wanted somebody to assist in establishing the company, so I came on board. We held about 0.5% when I joined, but we are now more competitive and have around 20%. A lot of TNT clients come to us because we are people-orientated and have developed our logistics accordingly. A lot of courier companies just pick up and deliver, but we even perform the additional service of clearing shipments held at customs. We also deal with airfreight as an added service. We are registered clearers and have clients that ask us to go and clear shipments that are held at DHL. TNT is a multinational company and, therefore, has clients from all over the world, such as MDS, Wal-Mart, Harlequin, Starbow Airlines, UBA, AKAI House, AGS, Steinberg, Coca-Cola, Roberts & Sons, KHR, Movenpick, African Airlines, and Cadbury, among many others. We are the sole company that deals with Cisco and we have a large warehouse for them. Cisco shipments come into our warehouses, we clear for customs, pay its duties, and then deliver. Any time a company needs its equipment, we deliver on its behalf.

What is your warehousing capacity?

We have a big warehouse and currently house around 2,000 parts for Cisco. Parcels arrive every day; as soon as items are bought, their parts need to be brought into the country. We sometimes have to ship other items into the country when the parts are no longer in the countries. Our pre-finance is also an advantage; we pay duties on behalf of customers. Instead of telling them that the duty amount is ready and they must pay, we pay it for them and then bill them later. It is convenient for the customer to get the shipment quicker.

What benefits will the construction of the third terminal building at Kotoka International Airport bring?

We have already secured a space at the terminal, as we know it will help us a lot. The new building is a positive move, as the current space is too small and we have had a lot of challenges. Having space in Terminal 3 will give us a competitive edge, as a lot of markets have faced the challenges of inefficiencies at the airport. As a courier, we want to receive our shipments on the same day they are sent, but there are processes that delay the processing of shipments. Our customers do not understand why their shipments take more than 24 hours to be delivered when sent through a courier. This move will encourage competition and better service delivery.

How has the demand for you to export products from Ghana grown?

The export market has changed, and it is increasing. Not many people wanted to export in the past, but many people are now exporting a variety of things. We send a lot of samples from companies, like Unilever and Coca-Cola. We send clothes, shoes, bags, spare parts for industry, and processed soybean by air freight for a lot of companies like Neurevas. We used to send raw cocoa beans, but these are now processed into cakes here. We used to send raw pineapples and Shea butter, but they are able to process them now into oils and creams. Ghana is moving from exporting raw materials and instead transforming these into value-added goods. Progress has been slow because of the exchange rate, which has affected a lot of people. We can see in the long run that the market is developing. At the same time, our operations are largely imports, as Ghana is an import-based country. From sunglasses to medicine, packaging materials, to laptops; we bring in everything.