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Van den Bosch continues supply chain optimisation in East Africa
11 June 2024

Van den Bosch continues supply chain optimisation in East Africa

The vegetable oil industry in Kenya and elsewhere is growing incredibly fast. But despite increasing global demand for vegetable oils, their supply chain is barely growing with it. Tens of millions of litres are still being exported annually to Europe in flexitanks. Van den Bosch is now taking the first steps towards transferring this volume to sustainable ISO tank transport in order to optimise the supply chain.

“Our first transport for a leading supplier of vegetable oils has set a significant milestone for the Kenyan vegetable oil export industry,” says Laurens Tulleners, Area Sales Manager at Van den Bosch. "The supplier has thus switched from flexitanks to ISO tank transport. This means a shift towards greater efficiency, quality assurance and sustainability. Until now, largely uncharted territory for East Africa. But as the African vegetable oil market continues to grow, so does the demand for deep-sea transport. With commitment to innovation and sustainability, the industry can respond to new opportunities and meet the changing demands of the global market."

Cleaning setup
Unlike in most African countries where the port is the biggest city, many import customers in Kenya are located around Nairobi – the economic heart of the country. The nearest port is in Mombasa, over 400 kilometres away. "That’s where our imports come in, so the cargo has to be transported to Nairobi first for unloading," Tulleners says. "Then the empty containers have to go back to the port, where they are picked up by another party to be reloaded in Nairobi. As you can imagine, this not only costs a lot of time and money, but is also environmentally unsound."

To optimise this route, Van den Bosch has created a cleaning setup that allows them to clean tank containers in Nairobi. "As a result, import customers no longer have to return to Mombasa with empty tanks. And the export customer no longer needs to go to Mombasa to pick up tanks. That makes the entire supply chain effectively more sustainable."

Reliable source
The focus of Van den Bosch DMCC is on shipping liquid foodstuffs (such as sunflower oil and glucose) in ISO tank containers. "But we also transport a lot of juices, wine and spirits. We’ve been transporting these with ISO tanks for a number of large Kenyan beverage manufacturers in recent years," Tulleners explains. "This has led to the formation of a strong and reliable source of imports in the region. It will enable us to continue expanding our network, which will also bring new opportunities."

Tanzania
To make the most of these new opportunities, sound cooperation between various parties is essential, says Tulleners. "We’ve established a long-term partnership with Freight Fowarders Ltd. A family business that knows the market, has the right resources and with whom we’ve built a good relationship. Through this partnership, we have strong representation in the country, not only in Kenya but also in Tanzania."

Tulleners: "We also see opportunities in Tanzania for further optimising the supply chain, as we are doing in Kenya. There too, the market is growing and there are still many steps to be taken towards sustainability. That is why we see an opportunity to get involved here as The Supply Changer in Bulk."

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Van den Bosch continues supply chain optimisation in East Africa
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