Dr. Taiwo O. Afolabi is managing director/CEO, Sifax Group, which began operations as Sifax Nigeria Limited in 1988. Before setting up, he had worked in a shipping company where he headed operations. The maritime logistician has since then taken the business to towering heights with great contributions in the development of port operations, shipping and bonded terminal services in Nigeria.
The company started as a freight forwarding agency in Lagos and rendered other services such as haulage, warehousing and other adjunct import and export support services. The group has since become a large, international conglomerate with diverse investments in maritime, logistics, haulage, oil and gas, among others.
In 2004, it set up a subsidiary – Sifax Offdock Nigeria Limited to operate off-dock facilities and services from its terminal located very close to the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports. The company receives cargo on a temporary hold and provides easy exit for custom-cleared cargoes from the ports.
The company has invested heavily in modern terminal facilities, automated handling equipment as well as information and communications technology and security devices. The off-dock area has enormous cargo capacity, which has aided decongestion of cargoes from the main ports.
It occupies an area of 31,000 square metres with a capacity to hold 2,000 containers. It is reputed as one of the few terminals in Nigeria – conventional and off-dock that has functional and effective reefer container storage facilities with 200 plug-in points. It still has room for further capacity additions.
Sifax Offdock offers warehousing services, which include operations of bonded warehouses and terminals as well as cargo and freight forwarding operations. It has in place a framework that tracks movement of cargoes from the consignor and ensures delivery to the consignee’s warehouse on schedule.
Other subsidiaries that Afolabi brought on board the group include Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited, which won the bid to manage Terminal C in Tin Can Island Port under the federal government’s port concession programme in 2006.
The company has invested heavily in the acquisition of cargo handling equipment for modern port operations. It has deployed various types of equipment that enable efficient loading and discharge of all type of cargo.
Further expansion of operations within the maritime industry happened in 2013 when Sifax Logistics & Marine Services Limited was incorporated to provide logistics and marine services in Nigeria and the rest of the West African sub-region. The company provides a vehicle for the growth and maximization of Nigeria local content participation.
It provides special transportation facilities for offshore support services, including marine and towage vessels and other related marine facilities and solutions to both onshore and offshore oil terminals. The company’s operating philosophy places a high premium on safety, which it pursues through the deployment of the highest quality of hardware and the best of manpower.
It is therefore committed a continuous development of the industry’s best craftsmen for offshore and onshore operations. This has enabled it develop expertise in tailoring solutions to match the varying geographical, maritime and business environments of its clients.
Sifax Shipping Company Limited is also one of the subsidiaries of the group, which was established to provide a one-stop centre for shipping services. It provides a variety of complementary services under its umbrella, including ship agency, ship husbandry, protective agency/owners representation, crew change and groupage.
The company has leveraged on the group’s global network to expand its shipping operations in the West African sub-region. Apart from its own business interests, it also represents other renowned ship owners and shipping companies as ship agents. With a number of high profile clients under its service both locally and internationally, Sifax Shipping Company has become a force to reckon with in the business.
Sifax group also undertakes clearing and forwarding services through its subsidiary – Sifax Clearing and Forwarding Limited. The company handles clearance and delivery of consignment from customs and other agencies in both seaports and airports. Its services cover door-to-door delivery of consignments even to remote locations across the West-African sub-region.
Its services are facilitated by the use of advanced information technology that permits multiple cargo clearing at the same time. The company has garnered a lot of goodwill as a reliable and dependable licensed customs agent and international freight forwarder.