May 29 - Panalpina is to acquire its long-standing Egyptian agent, Afifi - a family-owned company specialising in freight forwarding, Customs clearance and logistics.

Since 1995, Panalpina has relied on Afifi as its Egyptian agent for ocean freight, airfreight and project cargo services. Afifi currently employs around 150 staff in offices in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez, and also operates in Port Said through a long-term subcontractor.

The two companies reached an agreement on May 28, under which Panalpina will acquire 100 percent of Afifi, subject to conditions. Afifi will be fully integrated into Panalpina.

Panalpina says that the move is an important step in its continued strategic expansion in growth economies, such as the Middle East and Africa. 

"Egypt has a lot of potential for us," said Peter Triebel, Panalpina's regional ceo for the Middle East, Africa and CIS. "By uniting with our long-standing partner Afifi, we will increase our foothold in this attractive market and lay a strong foundation for growth. Afifi has a solid customer base in Egypt, as well as a strong track record and reputation in local Customs brokerage and projects work."

Triebel went on: "Egypt has a large population and a sizeable middle class, in addition to being the regional base for numerous international companies. Now political reforms are under way to strengthen the economy and improve the investment climate. Add a freight forwarding market that is very fragmented, and we have ample opportunity for growth."

Panalpina says that it sees Egypt's greatest growth potential in the oil and gas, capital projects, telecommunications, automotive and healthcare sectors. The government has stepped up efforts to encourage the exploration of oil and gas, in particular in the Nile delta, said the Switzerland-based forwarder.

Egypt also plans to build an international industrial and logistics hub near the Suez Canal in conjunction with the current scheme to dig a second canal that will facilitate two-way traffic of larger ships.

See page 81 of the latest issue of HLPFI magazine (May/June 2015) to read more about Egypt's intentions to build a new capital and reposition itself on the global investment map.


A containership sails under the Suez Canal bridge.