Dramatic growth forecast to continue into 2018

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Business for multi-platform industry service provider, HAE Group in Africa increased by over 20 per cent in 2017 with Sub Saharan business making up for uncertainty in West Africa, president – Middle East & Africa, Peter Kerins tells Air Cargo Week.

He says key locations for the company that provides services including charter and GSSA solutions have performed “dramatically” with Sub Saharan business routed via Johannesburg seeing tonnage increasing by approximately 50 per cent.

HAE saw a “marked increase” in export tonnage in 2017, something Kerins says looks to be continuing.

Kerins says: “Our import business into Africa both sold in the international markets and through our consignee sales program reaped excellent rewards for both our group and our airlines partners both in and out of the region.”

Business in 2018 has continued where 2017 left off, with HAE moving over 1,000 tonnes per month inbound and outbound in Africa as it continues to expand services.

He comments: “We foresee continued growth as we expand services in and from Nairobi, where we recently opened and office as well as in Johannesburg and other key destinations. We are projecting growth for the rest of 2018 to surpass those of 2017.”

Much of HAE’s business in Africa is concentrated around three locations feeding into other areas. Johannesburg is the link to Sub Saharan Africa providing services not only to the South Africa market but bonded services across the region.

The Neutral Wholesale Airfreight business located in Johannesburg also acts as a gateway for outbound volumes.

Over in the East, Addis Ababa and Nairobi act as access points to the Central and Eastern Africa markets, particularly for charter and part charter projects into difficult to reach locations. In the West, Lagos is the traditional access point into the region.

Kerins says: “Given the downturn in Oil and Gas over the past few years, we now where possible offer direct services through our Liege office.”

North Africa is an area HAE is seeing growth both on an inbound and outbound basis, with the economic and governmental stability in the region meaning it is of interest to the group.

HAE does not open offices at random, Kerins points out: “I think we have always looked at areas where our wider group have requirements and assess any new locations on solid business cases, rather than open offices just to have a dot on a map.”

Africa has a lot of potential for HAE but challenges such as finding the right people, the right countries and security for investments and business ambitions continue.

Kerins says numerous countries make it difficult to have a wholly owned entity in the country, with banking, technology and regulation are key challenges.

He says: “Many authorities are still very protective over new companies coming into their markets, particularly in the aviation sector. I would say the financial risk factor in a lot of locations would be medium to high.”

Though Africa remains a challenging market, Kerins is confident about the future for HAE, having invested in locations, employment, businesses and partners.

HAE has provided clients in Africa with a transparent platform back up with IT investment.

Kerins says: “Central to any success is to offer something different in the market, and we believe through our flexible range of services we bring something to our clients that gives them value, but also visibility and consistent service.”