Lori Systems, an e-logistics company digitising haulage and providing shippers with innovative solutions to efficiently manage their cargo and transporters, has secured an investment from Google to support the development of digital transport management in the African continent.
The new investment is the third from Google’s $50 million Africa Investment Fund, which CEO Sundar Pichai announced in October 2021. It comes off the back of the launch of Google’s first product development centre on the continent, in Nairobi, Kenya, the city where Lori Systems first launched.
According to Knight Frank’s Logistics Africa report, $180 billion is spent annually on haulage in Africa and logistics account for as much as 75 percent of a product’s price, compared to 6 percent in the US. The report noted further that logistics operators in the continent face a host of problems, from fragmented supply and demand markets to inconsistent pricing, paper documentation and little or no access to financing.
To address this, Lori said it has significantly improved logistics transparency, flexibility, reliability and costs across 13 countries in Africa, and has plans to continue expansion to frontier markets across the continent and beyond.
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Being a pioneer in the African e-logistics sector, Lori Systems lowers the cost of goods by eliminating pain points along the cargo journey, seamlessly connecting shippers to transportation, providing shippers with solutions to efficiently manage their cargo and transporters, and digitizing their entire transport operations from sourcing transportation to documentation and payments.
Ranked by the Financial Times earlier in 2022 as Africa’s seventh fastest growing company, Lori Systems has helped thousands of shippers and carriers move over $10 billion of cargo across Africa since its establishment in 2017.
The recent investment by Google, though currently an undisclosed amount, is expected to help improve Lori Systems’ impact on Africa’s digital transport management.
Commenting on the development, Nitin Gajria, Google’s managing director for sub-Saharan Africa, remarked that the multinational technology company understands the transformative power digitisation can bring to the African continent. He noted that there is so much potential in the region which can only be unlocked through innovation.
“Lori Systems is a great example of how technology can be scalable across Africa, and how, in turn, this can drive meaningful economic development. We’re excited to see where the future takes a business like this,” Gajiria said.
On his part, Jean-Claude Homawoo, Lori Systems co-founder & chief product officer, stated that the global logistics industry has seen much innovation in recent years. He, however, emphasised that global supply chains are in dire need of modernisation, with technologies yet to reach critical scale.
“On the continent, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is expected to lead to an 81 percent increase in intra-African trade, providing a $21.9 billion opportunity in untapped trade potential that the 54 ratifying countries are hoping to capitalize on over the next five years. Logistics is key to unlocking this opportunity,” Homawoo said.
In his remarks, Uche Ogboi, Lori Systems CEO, said the company is excited to have Google as a partner as it continues to build the operating system for emerging market logistics. Ogboi described the vision of the future of logistics in Africa as one that is digital, scalable and more efficient.
According to Ogboi, the company has recorded significant success so far, achieving up to 20 percent price reduction for cargo owners and nearly doubling the increase in truck utilization for transporters on its platform.
“We are excited about this funding as it will allow us to continue driving superior efficiencies across logistics on the continent,” he added.