Unifreight invest US$6 million to boosts recovery

Unifreight, has made a substantial investment of US$6 million aimed at bolstering its recovery and strengthening its market position.

The funds are towards retrofitting its legacy fleets and expanding production capacity, to enhance efficiency, improve service delivery, and seize new opportunities in the evolving logistics landscape.

The company expects a pre-tax profit of $2.5 million this year after posting losses at ZWL last year.

Chief Executive Richard Clarke, who took over in January after three months in office, said he believes the company is on a growth trajectory based on the investments and strategies that management is executing.

The company posted a loss in Zimbabwean dollars last year due to a number of factors, including the declining value of Zimprow shares on the stock market, interest rates moving around 200% overnight, and aging Scania trucks. The mileage is over 100,000 km.

However,
Unifreight sold its old fleet and bought new assets at the same time.

“At the end of 2022, we began buying FAW 380 horsepower trucks with We chai engines with a fast two gear box. We bought 100 of these assets on an instalment sale agreement. In addition, we bought Afrit taut liners and 25 Afrit super links,” said Clarke.

“We have been disposing the Scanias and we are left with about 20 on our fleet. We needed to add capacity because there is demand for services offered by Swift, especially from blue chip companies.

We provide services to companies such as Delta, Schweppes, nestle, Tongaat, Pure Oil and Unki Mines, just to mention a few.”

Clarke said demand is growing because Unifreight is able to take goods, consolidate them and distribute nationwide within 24 to 48 hours consistently.

He said the company was looking at having a full truckload business where trucks leave one destination with a load and come back with a load on the return trip.

He said the new investment will boost UniFreight’s shipments and expects the company’s revenue to rise from $16.8 million to $24 million this year.

“We also expect pre-tax income for the full year 2023 to be $2.5 million, up from $518 million in 2022,” Clark said.

“Over and above that, we have ordered 15 FAW 8 140hp (horse power) FL (5 tonners) and 15 FAW 28 290hp (FL013 tonners to cater for increasing demand for collection and deliveries in Harare and Bulawayo.

“We want to get another 100 trucks by Q1 2024 [first quarter of 2024]. We will also look towards the regional market for additional cross-border business to earn foreign currency and de-risk our business.”

Clarke said the management was turning around the business through attention to detail, strict key performance indicators for each member of the executive team that are aligned to the company’s vision to achieve extra ordinary results.
He said the company had chosen to invest in FAW trucks because they were the leading commercial vehicle manufacturer in South Africa with a market share of 13.4%.

Unifreight is one of the oldest transport and logistics company in Zimbabwe and has three subsidiaries: Swift, Bulwark and Skynet Worldwide Express.

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