Spotlight On: Warehousing - A Foundation for Economic Growth

Warehousing South Africa

Do you have a warehouse? If not, do you need one? Despite the key role they play, warehouses tend to be one of the most overlooked elements of logistics infrastructure, but this needs to change. 

What Role do Warehouses Play? 

While warehouses are often a secondary thought when it comes to logistics, they are a very important part. They provide a place to store, distribute, pack, process and assemble goods, as well as do some light manufacturing. All of these activities are the foundation of any economy, and help to support both local and international trade, exporting and importing. If Africa wants to reach its full potential then warehouse transformation is needed. Low-cost, makeshift warehouses need to be transformed into warehouses that meet international standards and are digitally enabled. 

How Will a Warehouse Transformation Help Africa?

A much-needed warehouse transformation in Africa will help make a difference in these key ways:

  • It will help to enhance agricultural value chains and reduce food losses and wastage, and will allow for local processing and packaging to take place under the same roof as storage.
  • It will help to accelerate e-commerce in the country by providing the required space for goods, as well as international-standard fulfilment centres that allow for automation and racking. 
  • It will provide a platform for African manufacturing and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), which will help encourage international investment. 
  • It will enable growth of African SMMEs through availability of flexible warehousing models that allow for lower payments upfront and give SMMEs easier access to quality warehouse facilities. 
  • It will create jobs and increase regional trade and economic growth through increasing intra-Africa and intra-regional trade. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will create the world’s largest single market of 1.2 billion people, so we need to take advantage of this. 

There are a great number of reasons for the transformation of warehouses in Africa, and while we are seeing improvements start to happen, this needs to pick up speed. As supply chains go digital, the importance of warehouses to do the same is also becoming more important and makes for more seamless logistics. The building and maintenance of international-standard warehouses will also create a variety of jobs and building, which will add to the continent’s competitiveness as it develops its export potential for global markets. We’re excited for the future of warehouses, and we have hope that Africa can achieve more in this area! 

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