By: Donna Slater*
Infrastructure project funder InfraCo Africa, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), and Global Logistics Services (GLS) have signed an engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract with Liberian contractor BMC Group to build the Liberia Inland Storage Facility (LISF) project.
InfraCo Africa will be the majority shareholder in the 4 600 m2 facility, which will develop Liberia’s first open-access commercial warehousing facility and operations.
LISF is being developed by InfraCo Africa, with CPCS Transcom acting on its behalf, in partnership with Liberian logistics company GLS.
By incorporating flexible storage space, modern inventory management systems and time-efficient loading and offloading, LISF will enable businesses to enhance their supply chains, reducing stock wastage and damage which should ultimately reduce overall costs to the end consumers.
InfraCo Africa CEO Gilles Vaes says the LISF will provide businesses of all sizes with access to much-needed storage and sophisticated warehouse management systems, enabling them to drive efficiencies and grow their businesses.
“By facilitating trade, LISF will promote wider economic development as Liberia seeks to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
CPCS MD Amit Modi says the project will support local small and medium-sized enterprises in accessing storage solutions and value-added services that will create leverage in securing their supply chain and business growth.
InfraCo Africa secured grant funding from PIDG’s technical assistance (PIDG TA) to carry out a prefeasibility study to assess the power needs of the facility.
PIDG TA has provided $360 000 of capital funding for the supply and installation of a rooftop solar-hybrid system that will provide the primary source of power to the facility.
The rooftop solar energy system will increase energy efficiency, reduce overall dependence on diesel, and cut carbon emissions. It is anticipated that the system will provide a replicable model for similar facilities in the region, with potential to drive down carbon emissions in the sector.
GLS CEO Peter King emphasises the importance of the project and its potential impact on several key sectors including agribusiness, fast-moving consumer goods and e-commerce.
“The shareholders of LISF are cognisant of the infrastructure deficiency in key growth sectors of the Liberian economy, specifically transport and logistics, and have combined resources to address the gap and support the country’s economic revitalisation.”
He adds that, to date, the LISF has attracted significant interest from some of Liberia’s leading companies, across multiple sectors.
With the African Continental Free Trade Area having come into effect on January 1, access to the LISF will position Liberian businesses well to benefit from integrated trade across the continent.
The World Bank’s Liberia economic update identifies essential trade and market activities as the foundation of economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The facility offers short- and longer-term storage space for businesses and consignments of all varieties and sizes, thereby making the LISF ideal for meeting market needs.
It is likely to provide significant benefit as Liberia emerges from the economic impact of the pandemic. Over time, the project plans to further tailor its facilities to match changing demands.
It is anticipated that construction will commence towards the end of the year.
Edited by: Chanel de Bruyn Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online