Lack of adequate infrastructure and trained manpower has continued to impede the growth of the logistics industry in Botswana.
The problem is compounded by inadequate resources among small and medium logistics companies, which have continued to battle against the odds to provide high quality services to commerce and industry.
Speedy Logistics proprietor, Murphy Phukula, told Monitor in an interview that this grim reality has invariably resulted in the industry being dominated by foreign companies with the capacity and resources to provide high quality logistics services.
"The international logistics companies have dominated logistics business in Botswana because with limited resources, local companies cannot compete on an equal footing."
The challenge, therefore, is for stakeholders to create a favourable environment so Batswana can compete with the rest of the world.
Phukula noted that failure by local companies to move forward is partly due to limited understanding of the industry's nuances. He stated that it is sad that most companies prefer to venture into international services such as customs clearing, ignoring equally high yielding areas like distribution service, forwarding, and logistics consulting, among others.
Phukula disclosed that the other challenge facing most logistics companies in Botswana is the inability to secure funds from financial service providers, in order for them to invest in proper infrastructures that could enable them to compete inn the international arena.
He urged the private sector leaders to support local companies venturing in the industry.
"The financial sector has to be more involved in assisting up-coming logistics companies to strengthen their current infrastructures. Government must also consider assisting such companies by allocating more project funding for the sector."
Phukula, who has over 16 years experience in the industry, explained that lack of skilled personnel in the industry is another cause for concern, adding that there is need to address the situation especially that there are no institutions in Botswana that "dedicate their energies to the upgrading of human skills in this industry".
He said that the Botswana logistics market is diverse, hence the need to tailor-make products and services that meet the demands of the customer base.
The local logistics industry offers services to the market such as direct distribution, forwarding and custom clearing, courier services, road, air, sea and rail freight logistics, in house mailroom and messenger delivery services.
"The approach of Speedy Logistics to the industry is a unique one as we strive to focus at ensuring that the company provides consistent logistics solutions to customers that will optimise their efficiency from a cost and product point," he said.
Phukula pointed out that a lot of businesses in the logistics industry were not worried about client costs as they failed to understand the concept of saving clients certain logistics costs, through offering them appropriate advice on the best options available.
"This goes a long way in improving client productivity and optimisation of their businesses.
"At Speedy Logistics we, therefore, want to be viewed by our clients as their key business partner, and we want to have a more lasting business relationship with them."
He commended Sprint Couriers for penetrating the market, saying company directors have demonstrated that with adequate support, especially from the private sector, Batswana have the potential to steer the industry to greater heights.