Muyiwa Adeseyoju, the first Nigerian Country Managing Director of DHL Express Nigeria, in this interview with Dotun Ibiwoye, speaks on the multinational’s innovations in e-commerce, supply chain, disclosing that the company plans to use drones for delivery. He also spoke of the challenges confronting the logistics business in Nigeria. Excerpts
WHAT impact have you made in the e-commerce subsector and terms of job creation in Nigeria?
In the terms of E-commerce, we have been able to innovate, solidify and held forth in the market. Basically, we are dealing with all the major e-commerce customers like Konga, we also had an arrangement with Jumia. We are dealing more with Africans to bring their goods from the United States and we are extending the partnership also across borders.
We are engaging more and more of e-commerce customers to export their products to Europe and the United States. We are even planning to have another workshop next two weeks to bring all the e-commerce customers together and then give them the opportunity for a platform to market their goods across borders.
Distribution centre in Abuja
So we keep engaging with these e-commerce customers in Nigeria. Nothing has changed as we are still doing normal things that we normally do. But basically, we believe in Nigeria and we are still investing in the economy. Just to mention some few investments that we have put in place, we just finished our ultra modern facility in Port Harcourt, which was opened last year.
We are trying to expand our gateway at the airport and we are building a new ultra modern facility at Lekki, Admiralty Way in Lagos state.We are also trying to build a new distribution centre in Abuja.
These are our little investments that we are putting together and these are substantial sums of money that we have put into the economy. All these investment is huge.
You mentioned across borders, in what way have you been able to align with the start-ups and MSMEs?
What we have to do is to take into consideration the scale of their operations. We have designed a special tariff to move their things out of Nigeria. So anywhere they are taking their market to we put them on that same platform.
So that is easy for them to market their goods especially to Europe and America. Those are the two key markets that we are looking at. Because if those two market accepts whatever they are selling, then there is a likelihood that they can replicate it across board.
Whether it is e-commerce or within Africa, the projection within Africa and e-commerce is going to be growing exponentially, So we want to be positioned everywhere we are operating and we take advantage of these opportunities because we know that the potentials are there.
In terms of exports are you into any partnership with any government agency?
Not exactly directly with Nigeria Export Promotion Council. Our belief is that those e-commerce customers already know their products. They already have a way of certifying their products. Our own is just to provide them the logistics on how the product from Nigeria gets to wherever they want to export it to. So we do deal think directly with Nigeria Export Promotion Council, so we allow them to do their own licensing, get their own certification and take their product from here and move to anywhere they want to move it to.
In Chain supply application, how will your product, parcel locker, be used for the benefits of Nigerians?
We have a product as part of our services we called On Demand Delivery, ODD. So we give our customers the opportunity of choosing how their parcel will be delivered to them, rather than making direct delivery. If they want, we will deliver the parcel at their time and their convenience. They can go to our locations and pick it up. That is the concept. So it is not only delivery directly to door steps but we also give the customers the opportunity of picking up their stuffs at their own time in those boxes, called parcel locker.
Right now we have four of them. We are going to continue to expand that scope. One in Port Harcourt, one in Isolo, one in Ikoyi and one in Victoria Island. We are trying to continue to expand more and more for our customers, that is the concept we drive across the country.
Is there plans for drones delivery?
Ultimately yes. We are looking into that but we will take it step by step. Yes, it has been deployed in some parts of Europe and US and we will take it down to Africa as time goes on.
No impediments against the drones?
Well, you know we are still very sensitive. Government agencies are still sensitive because of security issues. I am sure we will overcome all of that as we go along. When they now start to understand that this drone can also be used for non security purposes, then once the government agency try to understand and they partner with us, we can continue to use our drone to make deliveries.
What is the scope of your Corporate Social Responsibility activities?
We are involved in so many activities. The major ones if I might just mention briefly, is clean the environment in Lagos especially. We are also in Badagry on this clean initiative. There is this organisation where we partner with them to assist children, give them books and then there is a physically or mentally challenged home that we are also trying to support as well. We have quite a number of them.
Economic challenges in Nigerian market?
There are so many but I will just mention one or two. We have a gateway where we have in-house Customs and all our materials come through that same gateway. We are in the express business so we want to get our goods out of the airport as quick as possible. But maybe whether fortunately or unfortunately we have custom in-house and because of this attitude of our government officials, we still have a lot of issues that delay from the Custom authority. Now we have National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency. We still have a lot of challenges and it is a major issue.
Is that peculiar to Nigeria?
Yes, it is peculiar to Nigeria.
You don’t have such issues in other climes?
Well, it might be there but not as much as Nigeria.
Don’t you feel is a protocol process?
No. It is an attitudinal thing and again Nigeria is still ranks very high in corruption. So you see, we are a fully compliant company. We don’t want to be seen involved in any kind of corrupt activity, therefore, we still have challenges handling those guys and making that they facilitate our process as quickly as possible. Second challenge is that we are in a logistic business. Unfortunately, the road infrastructure of the country is very poor.
Security system of the country
So we are bound to be incurring a lot of cost flying materials rather than go by road and a lot of different infrastructural issues that we have. Security issues, electricity issues and others. We have to be running generator across the country and it is at very huge cost that we are incurring.
Are you suggesting intervention from the government in terms of aiding logistics and chain supply?
I will still really get back to the challenges. For example, all the things we mentioned about challenges still emanates from the government like road network. We are not going to be able to build roads. It’s only government that can do it.
It is not about policies, it is just getting things down right. If there is electricity, improving on the security system of the country and if they are able to improve on infrastructure then of course, life will be more easier for us and we can do business at a more reduced cost.
What motivates you and aided your appointment to be head of DHL Nigeria?
For me, just like any normal human being, you want to succeed and of course, I want to succeed in anything that I am doing. In every stage of my life, I have been trying my best to keep advancing myself forward. But one thing that is key for me is the people around me. They are the real driving force because without people you cannot fully succeed. People of like minds, who are very sound and willing to do things when they are motivated.
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