Lori has announced its partnership with Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway project which is the latest government passenger and cargo train system as well as its expansion into the neighboring countries of Uganda, Rwanda, and South Sudan. Lori’s foray into the business of lorries that lower truck transport costs and ease last mile distribution logistics saw them clinch the inaugural startup battlefield challenge that was organized by Facebook in Nairobi late last year.
They have also recently won the Global Africa Business Awards (GABA 2018) held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. According to their website, it appears that what sets them apart from other providers of either transport or logistics business in Sub Saharan Africa is how they go about handling people, processes, and technology. Their startup battlefield Africa win afforded them the opportunity of traveling to San Francisco and picking prize money of USD 25 K and the mentoring and top tech support that the winners receive.
Trucks that move goods by road still occupy the lions’ share of how cargo is delivered across East Africa with the port of Mombasa leading in terms of the source of goods coming in. However, moving of goods inside African borders is a costly affair riddled with infrastructure challenges and delays caused in part by failure to automate. With the African haulage market valued at an estimated USD 180 Bn of annual shipping costs are 3 times higher than those in the US due to lack of flexibility or centralized coordination coupled with a mechanical failure at loading sites. This causes trucks to wait as much as four days before they get loaded to begin their journey inland. “We’ve already had success in bringing down direct costs of moving bulk grains, achieving a 17% reduction in Uganda,” said Josh Sandler, CEO of Lori Systems
To demonstrate how they handle people, Lori claims to hire only the best talent. Jean-Claude Homawoo, who is the Chief Product Officer is a Harvard Business School alumni and previously worked at Google as Product Lead. Prior to that, he was the Vice President of Strategy at iROKO. Andrew Musoke who is Head of Commercial at Lori is a former Vice President at JP Morgan and Harvard Business School alumni from Uganda. Mehul Bhatt who joined to run the East African region as it focuses on pan-Africa expansion is the former CEO of Maersk Tankers India where he ran one of biggest clearing and forwarding agencies in East Africa. It is this team that is tasked with complementing its CEO Josh Sandler a Harvard MBA alumni.
Lori also seems to display strength in the way or the rate at which they have signed partnerships with industry players. Kuehne + Nagel, DHL, and Cargil are already working with Lori in the sharing of logistics data that in turn allow them to extract greater insights and improve outcomes through analytics. The partnership with Kenya’s standard gauge railway cargo delivery system further underscores this strength. Cargo leaving the port of Mombasa that was previously is carried by trucks is now arriving in Nairobi by train saving trucks the time and costs of covering the now reduced 480 km. It is this new development that puts Loris’s expansion into neighboring countries into perspective.
This development was first reported by Yahoo.
Feature image courtesy: Lori