Six questions to Eric Yoboué, Trident Shipping

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Please give us a short introduction of who you are. What are the services that your company provides? In which countries do you operate?

I’m Eric Yoboué N’Guessan. I hold a Master’s degree in International Transport and have over 6 years of experience in transportation and logistics. I am the manager of transport operations within Trident Shipping, which is a subsidiary of the MOVIS group here in Ivory Coast. Our main activity is transport, but we also do handling, storage, transit, consignment, shipping … in a word, we execute all port activities. We operate in Ivory Coast, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Benin, Togo…

What are the biggest challenges your company faces in the course of its business?

We experience major challenges in both periods of peak, as well as off-peak activity. During periods of high activity, we see a significant amount of cargo that needs to be delivered at the same time. This requires the mobilization of a large number of trucks, many of which may not be available. In some cases this situation forces us to negotiate with the client to deliver the goods partially in light of our constraints. As a result, this can have a detrimental effect on the levels of key performance indicators. Moreover, in the case of containerized cargo, it can potentially generate additional costs, i.e. detention costs, for our customer since the owner of the container typically provides a grace period for usage after which additional days are penalized and billed. During off-peak periods when the volume of shipments are greatly reduced, our trucks are immobilized, which necessitates costly maintenance after the period of disuse. The same problem arises in our warehouses, too.

In your opinion, what are the solutions to these problems?

In my opinion, the solution would be the establishment of a system where all the players involved in transport and logistics can share information in real-time, so that every company’s needs can be broadcast and known to all other company’s with the potential to satisfy those needs.

Do your partners use new technologies as part of their logistics activities?

Generally, I would say that we limit ourselves to online messaging services for communication purposes, as well as some internal business management software.

Do you think that new technologies are sufficiently used in the transport and logistics sphere in Africa?

No, we still have a lot of room for improvement to make. I think the major reasons for the current situation are the lack of awareness about the existence of new technologies and the lack of interest. Many companies still rely on traditional methods in Côte d’Ivoire and do not understand the value of using new technologies to improve productivity and facilitate their work. There is a real need for instruction as to the advantages and benefits that new technologies can bring to these companies.

What partners would you hope to find on Bifasor?

On Bifasor, we would like to be able to find carriers and shippers with whom we could work. Additionally, we would like to be able to find certified garages and mechanics in Ivory Coast and throughout West Africa, which would allow us to easily find the right people to repair our trucks that break down while on their routes. This would spare us the expense of having to transport our technicians to the place where they have broken down and would prevent us from being forced to tow the trucks back to headquarters. As you know, sending out our personnel and towing broken equipment can be very expensive operations.We need in particular mecanics who can deal with specific brands such as Daf, Man, Renault and JMC.