DSM Corridor Group (DCG)- Building East Africa’s Trading Network

Starting with the discharge of its first vessel in the port of Dar es Salaam in April 2004, DSM Corridor Group (DCG) today is a major cargo handler specialised in fertilisers, cereals, bulk sulphur, sugar, coal, clinker and valuable minerals such as copper and cobalt.

The port of Dar es Salaam being a trade gateway to East Africa, the company plays a key role in supporting the industrialisation of the region and thus improving the lives of local communities. Operating from the port of Dar es Salaam, the company has grown into one of the key cargo handlers in the region.

The company’s initial focus was to handle fertilisers in a more efficient manner. To this end, a state-of-the-art, humidity-controlled and conveyor-driven dry bulk terminal was commissioned in 2011. The port has the capacity to handle 25,000 m3 of bulk cargo per month, and is the only purpose-built bulk terminal in Sub-Saharan Africa,” CEO Jesper Sorenson describes a key milestone in the company’s development. “This was a particular turning point for the economy of Tanzania and the neighbouring countries, as Dar es Salaam Port is the gateway for about 95% of Tanzania’s trade, and also provides vital access to Tanzania’s six landlocked neighbours: Malawi, Zambia, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, and Eastern DRC.”

“This innovative move was a game-changer in the fertiliser industry in this region. As a result, the discharge rate of a fertiliser vessel increased significantly, reducing the laytime of the vessel by more than 50%. We have basically revolutionised bulk cargo handling at Dar es Salaam,” explained Mr Sorenson, who himself first came to Tanzania as a consultant and logistics management specialist before being appointed to the CEO role with DCG.

Efficient cargo-handling solutions

Expanded port facilities allowed the company to subsequently diversify into handling metals coming from the inland mines for export in large volumes, followed later on by other types of cargo such as coffee, sugar, timber and others.

DCG today has 3 terminals, all committed to UNGC (United Nations Global Compact) principles. In addition to the Dar es Salaam bulk terminal, the company also opened a 4,500 m2 metal terminal in the immediate vicinity of the port of Dar es Salaam, with an annual capacity of 360,000 metric tonnes.

The third facility is at Kisarawe which is 36 km south-west of Dar es Salaam, where the company has a 100,000 m2 terminal consisting of a 4000 m2 warehouse, custom offices, truck weighbridge and staff facilities. The terminal is located right next to the TAZARA railway which earmarks it as a strategically important facility for handling cargoes transported by rail.

Mr Sorenson affirms that human resources are key for the company’s development and DCG is an advocate of a culture of teamwork, considering its staff its most important asset. Programmes have been introduced to ensure employees’ support and career development, and an open-door policy is in place making sure there are no barriers for staffs to communicate openly at all levels.

Pushing forward, the company is keen to progress in line with environmental and social responsibility. DCG holds ISO 9001:2015 (quality management) as well as ISO 14001:2015 (environmental management) and is now being certified for 45001:2018 (occupational safety).

Aiming high

It is clear that the company is looking at its growth within the context of the whole region. In 2018, DCG expanded into Zambia via a Build-Lease-Transfer (BLT) contract signed with TAZARA on a Public-Private Partnership basis for the next 25 years. “This means in practice that DCG’s successful cargo handling methods have been replicated and applied in Kapiri Mposhi dry port, a logistics hub for cargoes imported and exported via the port of Dar es Salaam as the dry port and seaport are directly connected by the TAZARA railway,” explains Mr Sorenson. “Rail transport is traditionally a more reliable, secure and efficient way of transferring cargoes across hinterlands and our ultimate purpose in opting for rail is to significantly reduce logistics costs, which are traditionally high in this part of the world.”

After two years of working with the government, DCG has recently achieved yet another important milestone, becoming the only designated area to handle bulk sulphur in Dar es Salaam, a commodity highly in demand for the mining sector. “This has been a massive achievement which has significantly improved our position. The copper belt is currently being supplied from Richards Bay in South Africa and Beira in Mozambique. With a large volume demand for sulphur to the copper belt, DCG will now be in a position to offer an attractive alternative to traders using the port of DSM as the import hub.”

This would be a very important step and one that could be difficult to achieve in isolation. DCG is, therefore, open to collaborating with other players to make the whole logistics system more efficient, despite the fact that collaborative efforts are not common in this part of the world. “There are a lot of companies in this field of business in East Africa and working together would generate great improvements,” Mr Sorensen reflects.

Concluding, he affirms that the company is aiming high. “We strive to increase cargo volumes through the port of Dar es Salaam while reducing the cost of logistics. Our ultimate goal is to promote interconnectivity between terminals and establish a complete distribution system to support East Africa’s industrialisation and thus enhance the countries’ economies.”

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