[divider style=”solid” top=”25″ bottom=”25″][dropcap]I[/dropcap]nfraCo Africa, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), and Global Logistics Services Inc (GLS) have signed an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) contract with Liberian contractor, BMC Group, to enable construction to commence on the Liberia Inland Storage Facility (LISF) project.
InfraCo Africa will be the majority shareholder in the project which will develop Liberia’s first open-access commercial warehousing facility and operations.
LISF is being developed by InfraCo Africa, with CPCS Transcom Limited (CPCS) acting on their behalf, in partnership with Liberian logistics company GLS Group. The 4,600m² facility will be situated 10 kilometres from the Freeport of Monrovia. By incorporating flexible storage space, state-of-the-art inventory management systems and time-efficient loading and offloading, LISF will allow businesses to optimise their supply chains, minimising stock wastage and damage which should ultimately reduce overall costs to the end consumers.
Gilles Vaes, CEO of InfraCo Africa said: “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.” He continued, “With our colleagues at CPCS, we look forward to working with our local teams at GLS and BMC Group to progress the build programme ahead of Liberia’s rainy season.”
“Working on behalf of InfraCo Africa and GLS, we are thrilled to have sourced and led the development of the LISF,” echoes Amit Modi, Managing Director of CPCS. “The project will support local SMEs in accessing storage solutions and value-added services that will create tremendous 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 pre-feasibility study to assess the power needs of the facility. PIDG TA has provided US$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 maximise 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 Group Chief Executive Officer, Peter Malcolm King emphasised the importance of the project and its potential impact on several key sectors including agribusiness, fast-moving consumer goods and e-commerce. He said, “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.” Mr King further elaborated, “We are very excited about the commencement of the project construction and we hope that through this commitment, we can support the central government’s plans around food security, a critical component of national security. To date, LISF has attracted significant interest from some of Liberia’s leading companies, across multiple sectors.”
With the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) coming into effect on the 1st of January 2021, 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. By offering short and longer-term storage space for businesses and consignments of all varieties and sizes, the LISF is ideal for meeting market needs. The facility 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 with the LISF expected to become operational in 2021.