Our solutions will have amazing benefits to AfCFTA: Amitruck CEO (Logistics Update Africa)
(By Shalini Nair)
Launched in 2019 in Kenya, Amitruck, a trucking logistics marketplace, received pre-seed funding from Dynamo Ventures, Plug and Play Ventures and other strategic angel investors in February 2021. Mark Mwangi, CEO and founder of Amitruck, shares his insight on expansion plans and building partnerships with the best players in the industry.
As trade under AfCFTA officially began from January this year and free flow of goods is a crucial agenda, how are you optimising your platform to support this agreement?
Currently, African countries are not sufficiently investing in connectivity and infrastructure, which significantly hampers regional trade. To reverse this pattern, a massive and strategic investment in connectivity and infrastructure is essential. Amitruck removes few important barriers for businesses to take advantage of the AfCFTA: digital, competitive and flexible logistics.
Disruptive innovation has reached a multitude of industries with the majority adapting fast to a changing environment. As the logistics industry has historically experienced strong inflexion points, such as high inefficiency – for example, a staggering 50 percent of transporters run empty especially on backhauls. It is not surprising that this industry would be forced to innovate rapidly and develop solutions, especially in light of the AfCFTA. Across Africa and in Kenya, most households spend over half their budgets on food. The high cost of logistics is one of the main contributors to these high prices.
Today in Africa, up to 70 percent of the final cost of goods is determined by the mode of transport, while 80 percent of goods are transported by roads. The fragmented African transport market is riddled with untrustworthy middlemen and characterised by a lack of security which greatly increases the cost and liability of transporting goods. There can be up to three middlemen between a truck and a cargo owner and they can consume up to 60 percent of the delivery fee.
Fortunately, there is a solution to overcome this challenge. Uber, Airbnb, and Amazon, for instance, are well-known examples of companies that have adopted digital marketplaces to achieve and share wild successes with their customers, including the most competitive corporations. Dedicated to logistics, the Amitruck digital platform provides a more competitive, flexible and efficient transport solution for goods in Kenya and Africa that would bring amazing benefits to the AfCFTA.
Your platform deploys what kind of IoT and how it is easier, cost-effective and seamless for your clients?
According to Gartner, between 2025 and 2030, many hyper-automation technologies, such as machine learning, are expected to mature and enter mainstream adoption. They will help automate supply chain decision-making by augmenting human judgment.
To address current and future requirements of corporations in need to reshape or adapt their digital and logistics strategies in the medium-long run, Amitruck has chosen to build alliances with best-of-breed to ensure the highest levels of innovation. These technology partnerships allow Amitruck to focus on supply chain and logistics for innovation, with well-established innovative platforms and technology underneath, including the likes of Amazon Web Services and Google. With this spirit in mind and the recent hire of a top-notch chief technical officer, IoT will play a key role in Amitruck’s roadmap.
Thanks to the Amitruck APIs, businesses can enable connectivity between our marketplace and their estates, automatically getting their goods shipped by connecting internal systems such as ecommerce sites or ERP systems. This automates the process, greatly reduces human intervention and therefore improves efficiency and competitiveness.
Amitruck has chosen to build alliances with best-of-breed to ensure the highest levels of innovation.
You have recently raised pre-seed funding for expansion in East Africa, please let us know how the funds will be used for the company’s expansion?
We did not disclose the amount of funding raised but primarily our pre-seed round was done aimed at two main areas of our business. Firstly to help us put the resources, systems and processes in place to accelerate our growth further. Secondly, to enable us to shore up our technology team to ensure we can deliver a world-class platform for clients on both sides of our business.
How the acceptance in Africa is during the pandemic as the digitalisation wave is on hype?
Lockdown situations have boosted the need for transportation, especially in the last mile, with ecommerce and digital activities booming. Deemed as an essential service to keep delivering goods and fully based on digital, Amitruck keeps growing its customer base, supporting the economy and keeps business supply chains moving.
You have been working with Twiga Foods, Jumia, WFP, etc. As the sectors served here are different, what are the concerns as a digital platform you need to consider while catering to different segments?
The good thing for Amitruck is that transportation of goods is generic in some sense as connecting transporters and customers is mostly the same. However, controlling the speed, quality of capacity and customer support can vary at times.
Are you planning to expand in more regions?
At the moment, we are focused on solving the local logistics challenges in our home market. We can then take the lessons that we learn and scale across Africa, and have already experienced demand across several countries. However, at this point, we are still deliberating what markets to go into next and there are many factors we still need to consider before we can make that call and ensure the same success will be replicated.