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Partnership to disrupt Africa's digital freight market

South Africa-based Imperial Venture Fund says it has found the right African road freight investment for its global VC.

The Fund is investing in- and partnering with Lori Systems to expand the tech-driven logistics services company's solutions across Africa and address ongoing challenges faced by frontier markets including the lack of visibility, coordination, and data.

Cobus Rossouw, Chief Digital and Information Technology Officer at Imperial said the partnership is a first-of-its-kind because it covers the largest markets in Sub-Saharan Africa, unlike competitors that focus either on East/West Africa or Southern Africa.

"The structure of the partnership is also a first of its kind, with the combination of investment and licensing that aligns the focus and priorities of Lori and Imperial," said Rossouw.

Digital freight management involves the use of digital platforms to link the demand for- and supply of freight transport. It connects shippers (parties with freight that has to be moved) with carriers (parties with transport capacity, typically road trucks).

The partnership between Imperial Venture Fund and Lori Systems, which straddles the two sub-regions, is important for Africa including its growth opportunities for its contribution to remove brokerage middlemen and reducing waiting times for all parties Rossouw added.

The development has been announced during the same week e-commerce platform Jumia announced that its logistics service - with a network of over 300 courier partners, proprietary technology for track and trace, payments and over 110,000 sq. meters of warehouse space across Africa - is now available for use by third party businesses.

Jumia says its logistics arm, which has up till now been exclusively available to vendors in its marketplace, will going forward serve third party users across eleven countries in Africa.

While Jumia is focused on direct to consumer retail and their logistics services would typically be for small parcels, Lori Systems touts itself as a market access player and a tech disruptor in the logistics space.

Its partnership with Imperial focuses on full-truckload transport.

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