The Freeport of Monrovia is Liberia’s main international entry point to its capital city, where 90% of the country’s economic activity takes place.
Despite significant investment into port and road infrastructure in recent years, there is an identified shortage of storage and other logistics infrastructure required to complement the import supply and export value chains and ensure trade is handled efficiently.
Without such infrastructure, costs continues to increase exponentially, businesses struggle to transport their products in a timely fashion, and consistent delays exist in delivering basic food supplies, livestock and animal products to Liberia’s consumers.
Against that backdrop, Global Logistics Services (GLS Group) and InfraCo Africa (A PIDG subsidiary) shareholders of the joint venture company Liberia Inland Storage and Distribution Services (LISDS), broke ground for the construction of Liberia’s first modern commercial open-access storage facility in the country.
The Inland Storage Facility (the Project), is a strategic response to the limited storage, distribution, and logistics infrastructure within the Manu River Union (MRU).
The facility, which is valued at over US$8 million, will house the warehouse operations of LISDS and will incorporate state-of-the-art inventory management systems, loading, and unloading capacity, the LISF will be the first of its kind to meet the needs of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and of larger companies in Liberia.
It will also provide businesses with approximately 4,600m³ of flexible, high-quality, secure storage, reducing supply chain losses, stabilising prices and contributing to Liberia’s wider economic growth.
The facility, when completed will also allow for inclusion of alternative storage solutions in the future, such as temperature controlled capacity for the storage of food and pharmaceutical products – to meet the evolving needs of Liberia’s businesses.
The construction work, which started with an official ground breaking ceremony on Tuesday, March 9, 2021, at the Monrovia Industrial Park in Gardnersville, was hosted by Global Logistics Services Inc. (GLS Group) and InfraCo Africa.
The event was also attended by several dignitaries including Deputy Minister of Commerce and Industries, Thomas G. Goba, Thomas Doe Nah, Commissioner General of the Liberia Revenue Authority, Saa Saamoi, Commissioner of Customs alongside key officials and representatives from the business community, local and international organizations, PIDG and its owners.
The ISF is an inland terminal located on 2.28 acres of land in Monrovia Industrial Park that will consist of general warehousing, with some limited temperature-controlled ambient storage and cold storage facilities.
The Project will operate on a throughput model; customers such as third party logistics services providers (3PL) or importers pay to secure space in the facility and pay to use the additional services provided such as consolidation/deconsolidation of cargo and inventory management.
Earlier, British Ambassador to Liberia, Neil Bradley commended GLS, the private infrastructure development group, InfraCo Africa, BMC Group and CARES UK for reaching this important milestone.
He said: “Although we’re breaking ground today, the foundations for the success of this project have already been laid, noting that, “LISF project demonstrates the vision, entrepreneurship, and partnership needed to develop Liberia’s economic infrastructure, harnessing local and international expertise and finance.”
Ambassador Bradley, who spoke at the colorful ground breaking ceremony, said for Liberia to grow and prosper, and provide jobs and livelihoods for ordinary Liberians, it needs to attract public and private sector investment, at home and from overseas. “I’m pleased that InfraCo Africa, a private company with public funding from the United Kingdom Government, is supporting this investment.”
The project, according to Ambassador Bradley, will set a new standard as Liberia’s first commercial open-access storage facility, providing 4,600m³ of flexible, high-quality, secure storage with state-of-the-art systems. And mindful of the challenges of climate change, a rooftop solar-hybrid system will provide the primary source of power for the facility, cutting carbon emissions. It’s a project both of its time and for the future.
He said an investment in such infrastructure is an investment that benefits the whole economy and will address the shortage of storage and other logistics infrastructure necessary to ensure trade is handled efficiently.
Nabil Saimi, Head of Business Development at InfraCo Africa lauded the commitment of the partners in ensuring the successful implementation of the project and reiterated InfraCo’s commitment to Africa and headlined the funds over US$2 billion investment portfolio including multiple projects in the renewable energy space, transport and affordable housing.
He reassured the audience that InfraCo Africa intends to invest in other projects in Liberia.
Also speaking, LRA boss, Thomas Doe Nah congratulated the GLS, InfraCo Africa on behalf of the Government of Liberia for undertaken such a milestone project in the country.
He used the occasion to call on InfraCo Africa and his partners to diversify in other areas in the country’s economies, “so we are looking forward to engaging on this while at the same time engaging the GLS team in terms of where we all want to go.”
Commissioner Doe Nah said though nobody likes the taxman, but for the LRA there are quite appreciable ways that they will grow businesses in the country.
For his part, Thomas Goba, Deputy Commerce Minister assures the chairman of GLS that the government through the MOCI will support the cause because it is a development within our country.
“Your coming to Liberia clearly indicates that the government is investment friendly, and trusts worthy that you can come and invest and we will closely work with you as we have started because this is an opportunity that will employ a lot of young people,” he said.
Peter Malcolm King, Chairman of LISDS said, “GLS and its partner, InfraCo Africa is proud to be taking on this noble project and together reiterated our commitment toward the improvement of our country, Liberia through strategic investments in infrastructure, human capacity and social welfare. ”
Recent project milestones
- InfraCo Africa secured US$360,000 from PIDG Technical Assistance (PIDG TA) for the supply and installation of a rooftop solar-hybrid system to provide the primary source of power for the facility. The system will maximise energy efficiency and reduce overall dependence on diesel, cutting carbon emissions.
- InfraCo Africa and GLS signed an Engineering, Procurement and Construction contract with Liberian contractor, BMC Group to enable construction to commence.
Global Logistics Services Inc (GLS): GLS was borne out of the need to build an integrated logistics solution for organisations and projects operating in the region. The company’s strategy is focused on developing, owning, and operating key assets for supply chain optimization in the markets it operates. GLS Group is emerging as a leading logistics player across the West African region with services in global freight forwarding, trucking, storage and warehousing, shipping, and aviation services.
GLS holds a 25-year concession from the Government of Liberia for Cargo Handling operations at the Roberts International Airport, which is operated in a joint venture with National Aviation Services (Kuwait) and is in the final stages of completing a modern Air Cargo terminal at the airport.
GLS is focused on improving operational capacity; investing in assets, systems, people, and standards, to ensure a high level of time and cost efficiency for clients’ supply chains. To find out more visit: https://glsbusiness.com/
The Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG): PIDG is an innovative infrastructure development and finance organisation which encourages and mobilises private investment in pioneering infrastructure in the frontier markets of sub-Saharan Africa and south and south-east Asia to promote economic development and combat poverty.
PIDG delivers its ambition in line with its values of opportunity, accountability, safety, integrity, and impact.
Since 2002, PIDG has supported 157 infrastructure projects to financial close and provided 209 million people with access to new or improved infrastructure. PIDG is funded by six governments (the UK, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Australia, Sweden, Germany and the IFC.
PIDG TA can provide technical assistance and capital grants to the PIDG companies to meet a range of needs associated with an infrastructure project’s life-cycle.
PIDG TA can also provide up-front viability gap funding grants to support PIDG projects that require concessional funding to make a project with strong development impact financeable. For more information please visit: www.pidg.org
InfraCo Africa: InfraCo Africa is part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG). InfraCo Africa seeks to alleviate poverty by mobilising private investment into high-quality infrastructure projects in sub-Saharan Africa’s poorest countries.
It addresses the risks and costs of early-stage project development: funding teams of experienced developers and providing risk capital to those projects which need the financial commitment and leverage that InfraCo Africa can bring. InfraCo Africa is funded by the governments of the United Kingdom (through FCDO), the Netherlands (through DGIS) and Switzerland (through SECO). For more information please visit: www.infracoafrica.com
CPCS Transcom Limited (CPCS): In November 2017, CPCS signed a Developer Services Agreement with InfraCo Africa, which mandates CPCS to source and develop early-stage project opportunities focusing on key infrastructure sectors in sub-Saharan Africa.
CPCS is a global management consulting firm specializing in transportation, power, and public-private partnership infrastructure projects. CPCS’s Infrastructure Development Unit focuses on servicing the development of key infrastructure projects across Africa. To find out more visit: www.cpcs.ca.
BMC Group: BMC Group are Liberia’s leading contracting and consulting company. BMC Group is are engaged in diverse business activities across engineering consultancy, contracting and supply of building materials.
BMC Group has extensive construction and management experience and provides its clients with experienced architects, knowledgeable engineers, and professional, reliable craftspeople. Well-trained employees and construction workers assure safe and efficient services while delivering on time and within the project’s budget. To find out more visit: https://www.bmcgroup.com.lr.