Tunisia at a turning point
The countries of he Maghreb, and Tunisia in particular, plan to develop new routes to overcome the challenging economic situation. Habib Bouricha, managing director of Tunis-based Tandem Logistics, presented his views to the ITJ.
«Admittedly, transport and logistics activities in Tunisia are currently at a rather low ebb, and the same also goes for the rates paid for seafreight and airfreight,» explained Habib Bouricha, managing director of Tunisia’s Tandem Logistics. «The reason for this, in particular, are depressed crude oil prices as well as the unpredictable volatility of key currencies, mainly the euro and the US dollar. Without a clear future investors prefer to defer potential commitment, especially following the collapse of the tourism industry and the slump in both the construction industry and the public works segments,» said Bouricha.
Nevertheless, Tunisia continues to play a crucial role as a strategic hub in the Mediterranean. «The country is something of a control tower for the Libyan and Algerian markets,» the managing director continued confidently. Neighbouring countries supply the country and rely heavily on Tunisian industries. For that reason further investment will need to be made in the country’s logistics infrastructure.
To implement this, Tandem’s activities will need to be strengthened in other markets, due to the current national recession. In Algeria, Bouricha’s company has risen to the group of most active forwarders in the oil and gas sector, where it offers the same services as in Tunisia today, with various value-adding solutions. «We’ve also established a new firm in Morocco and even sent some employees there from Tunisia, in order to bring in some fresh ideas and to show the market there a different approach. We know all too well that in such difficult times it’s very necessary to set a company apart from its competitors, to be extremely flexible, both towards new solutions as well as in customer management,» Bouricha noted astutely.
Time for Investment
He believes that the time to 2017 will be tough, due to the lack of stability in the region. «We need to be patient. Every manager needs to take a step back now, and invest in his company instead, for instance in IT systems or other infrastructure, in order to be ready when the economy in North Africa picks up again – hopefully by around 2020, let’s say.»
Tunisia is a young democracy and a good destination for investment, Bouricha believes. It is an open country rich opportunities, he adds, which is ensured by a well-educated young generation that is eager to work. Most of them speak three languages (Arabic, French and English). What’s more, Tunisia will play the key role in rebuilding Libya in future, according to Bouricha, where there will be lots to do in the real estate field as well as in industry, in the energy sector and other sectors. It goes without saying that all of this will have a strong impact on the transport and logistics markets, with heavylift transports of solar modules, or for wind parks, a few examples of promising segments.
The freight forwarder specialises in maritime transports and is a legal counsellor for freight offers a broad range of services, including LCL and FCL shipping options and special load handling in project shipping (breakbulk and flat-rack containers). Added to this are temperature-controlled and conventional load solutions as well as freight and charter agreements. All services are based on an information system that ensures tracking of shipments, along with visibility from the start to receipt of the shipment.