This year, Steinweg celebrates its 175th anniversary. Please give us some background about the company.
C. Steinweg Bridge (Pty) Ltd is a proud member of the C. Steinweg group of companies and has over 40 years’ solid experience as a logistics company in Southern Africa.
In June 2012, privately-owned C. Steinweg – Handelsveem B.V (“C. Steinweg”) became a majority stakeholder in Bridge Shipping. We are an independent company and our group is one of the largest, privately-owned global logistics operators in the world. Founded in 1847, we are asset-based and operate an international network of ocean terminals, inside and outside warehouses, global freight forwarding, and all modes of transport distribution. Today, the group has more than 100 offices in 50 countries with more than 5,500 talented people providing tailored best-practice logistics solutions to a blue-chip client base in industry segments, including metals and minerals, agriculture, project cargo, oil and gas, power and energy, chemicals, bulk containerized commodities, and raw materials.
C. Steinweg Bridge has strategically located offices, warehouses, and depots throughout Sub-Saharan Africa:
- South Africa: Johannesburg, Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth
- Zambia: Lusaka, Ndola
- Zimbabwe: Harare, Mutare
- Tanzania: Dar es Salaam
- Malawi: Lilongwe, Liwonde, Blantyre
- DRC: Lubumbashi
- Mozambique: Tete, Nacala, Maputo, Beira
- Kenya: Nairobi, Mombasa
- Uganda: Kampala
You are renowned for your base metals storage facilities, but in what other ways do you work with the mining industry?
C. Steinweg Bridge provide our clients in Sub-Saharan Africa with a regional footprint to move their cargo on a bi-directional basis. Bi-directional traffic management via rail and road is of utmost importance to provide our clients with efficiencies in both time and cost to move their cargo. C. Steinweg Bridge focuses on the export of cargo from the mines (i.e. chrome, ferro chrome, manganese, copper, cobalt, tin, lead, aluminium, etc.) and at the same time the inputs that need to go to the mine (i.e. re-agents, sulphur, grinding media, yellow equipment, project cargo, and more).
We offer additional value-added services to our mining clients in the form of collateral management for trade finance purposes, procurement, chartering services, insurance, bagging, and sampling so as to provide them with one end-to-end solution.
In Southern Africa, Steinweg works closely with the region’s explorers. What are some of the ways you collaborate with them?
The biggest focus for C. Steinweg Bridge is to “debottleneck” the region by creating capacity. This includes bi-directional road and rail traffic throughout the region.
Together with our partners we have established rail solutions between Zambia (Ndola) and Tanzania (Dar es Salaam), as well as between Zambia (Ndola / Lusaka) and South Africa (Durban). This provides additional capacity and efficiencies that are required in the region as there is just too much cargo to move by road.
We also provide additional rail solutions that link South Africa (Durban / Johannesburg) with Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Being one of the biggest container exporters on rail in South Africa, we provide rail solutions between Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town.
What makes our solution unique in Southern Africa is that we offer a secured regional solution via all the key corridors that connect our owned warehouse facilities with road and rail. C. Steinweg Bridge is all about partnership with key stakeholders in these countries and via all the key service providers.
You have a global presence, too, not just in Southern Africa. Tell us more about your activities across different regions.
Our global presence is historically much more focused on net consumer markets in Europe, the Far East, and North America. Our activities cover base metals, minor metals, and ferro alloys, which are distributed from our warehouses to the various industries that consume these commodities. We sometimes even operate our own ocean terminals for this purpose, but more often this goes via warehouses in the second line. Many of our warehouses are approved by the London Metals Exchange, the CME Group, and other metals exchanges, which results in us being very closely connected to the metals market. This includes producers and traders but, importantly, also their bankers and financiers who prefer to see that collateralized cargo is handled/stored/confirmed by C. Steinweg Bridge.
We also started to provide logistics support to our customers sourcing metals from Africa and Latin America. This was by offering chartering and ocean freight services and, before we knew it, we also got involved in the supply towards smelters and mines. Our offices in Southern Africa are a great example of this evolution.
What are some of the current challenges you face within the mining industry?
The global supply chain crisis that has been caused by COVID-19 has truly created a challenge to all our clients globally. It has caused severe bottlenecks in the logistics chain and in Southern Africa this is no different. The challenges the industry is facing range from container shortages and space shortages on container vessels, to increased freight rates and more.
Additional challenges our mining clients are facing in Southern Africa is that a majority of the mines are based in landlocked countries that require efficient regional transport links for access to sea. There is a very big imbalance of cargo flow in Southern Africa where exports exceeds imports.
Due to these huge cargo imbalances in the Southern Africa region it makes it even more important that C. Steinweg Bridge manage our business on a bi-directional basis throughout the key corridors. We have dedicated teams in place to manage the bi-directional flow between road and rail as well as a dedicated ocean desk focusing on creating capacity on charters and shipping lines. All of this is in place to overcome the various challenges our clients are facing in moving cargo in and out of the region.
After an illustrious 175 years in the business, what are the next steps?
Taking control of one’s supply chain is key for C. Steinweg Bridge. We are embarking on a global journey to move onto one global operating platform. Technology platforms are the way forward for everyone and this is not different for the company. With our customers we work closely together with a variety of solutions such as Electronic Data Interchange, as well our online platform at www.steinwegonline.com.
Another thing we see happening is that in certain markets it is becoming very important to enforce the traceability of the procured commodities. This is of course something that requires a well-connected and integrated supply chain. This demonstrates that having offices and warehouse operations in both origin and destination is an excellent value proposition for the clients we work for.
And there is another trend which we see with new projects, such as mines, smelters, power plants, or other energy related investments. The related logistics have always been part of such projects, but these days we are called upon in a much earlier stage to provide input for the logistic aspects of the feasibility study. This includes how the products are going to find their way to global markets, and we at the Steinweg Group see that as excellent way to cement close partnerships with our clients, which is, after all, what it’s all about.
To find out more, send an email to email@example.com