Digital freight forwarder Saloodo!, a subsidiary of Deutsche Post DHL Global Forwarding, an international provider of air, sea and road freight services has launched new digital road freight platform for shippers and transport providers along the Northern Corridor.
The launch of Saloodo in Kenya to serve the corridor marks the first time an international digital road freight platform available to meet customers’ transportation needs within the nation and with neighbouring countries.
The service will be available for cargo movement within Kenya as well as to and from its neighbouring countries of Uganda, Somalia, Rwanda and South Sudan which mostly depend the port of Mombasa for their imports and exports.
Saloodo will provide real-time visibility, with greater transparency and efficiency to the road network in the region, enabling shippers – from small enterprises and start-ups to large multinational groups – to find trusted and reliable freight carrier.
This will in turn help carriers manage existing fleets and optimise capacity with full truckload shipments.
This is part of the firm's strategy to further expand to connect most of shippers and carriers within sub-Saharan Africa this year after its successful launch of the platform in South Africa in November last year.
Saloodo CEO Middle East and Africa Tobias Maier said the platform will offer a single, simple and reliable interface for shippers and carriers to best optimise costs, routes, cargo and transit times in the five countries.
“As it stands, Kenya, especially Nairobi, is an important driver of digitalisation in the greater continental region as we have seen with the upgrade of railway, seaports, the airports, and the development of geothermal power stations. With the current global economic outlook, it is imperative that the push for digitalisation accelerates so that we can continue to enable trade and help businesses to grow," said Mr Maier.
He added, “For us, it is important to make sure that our customers’ goods are secured. When using Saloodo!, we insist that every sub-contractor puts an e-seal on every container before being loaded out of port and this is a pre-requisite for all our Kenya shipments to ensure safety of all goods and containers."
In addition to security features in the platform, Saloodo will also provide cargo insurance through their global cover for extra protection and all contractual relationships are organised via the existing local DHL entity.
DHL Managing Director for East Africa Ivin George said Saloodo as a digital road freight platform will play a key role in complementing DHL’s portfolio of forwarding and logistics services already available in Kenya and Eastern Africa as a whole, including air, ocean, project, customs clearance, rail, warehousing, and distribution.
He said the platform will provide shippers the opportunity to seamlessly connect with carriers for domestic and international trucking needs while allowing carriers to efficiently identify loads and increase the utilisation levels of their fleet to generate extra income.
"The Saloodo! platform will play a major role in managing the capacity in the market, maximising volume along with cost optimisation. It will also help save resources and time for shippers by picking the best transporter for their needs and processing orders in real time which is key when customers expect high returns," said Mr George.
The intuitive and simple-to-use platform was first launched in 2017 in Germany to connect companies and transport providers within Germany or from Germany to throughout Europe. Moving swiftly into emerging markets, the digital freight service was introduced in the Middle East just six months ago where some 350 shippers are already registered.
Collectively, the service has grown to more than 30,000 shippers and over 12,000 carriers covering 35 countries.
Kenya has over 162,000 kilometres of road and is currently working on upgrading existing road network conditions.
Kenya’s Mombasa Port is Africa’s fifth-busiest port, and serves as the main gateway for trade in the Eastern Africa region, while its roads connect Kenya with neighbours including Uganda, Somalia, Rwanda and South Sudan. However, despite the opportunities, Kenya has seen its fair share of road freight-related challenges including poor truck turn-around times.