HOME Integrated Annual Report 2012 Sustainability Report 2012 Annual Financial Statements 2012
Corporate information   Downloads


The logistics division operates in two key markets – southern Africa and Europe.

SA logistics is the largest third-party logistics and supply chain management provider, offering integrated solutions to a diverse range of customers in 14 African countries through over 55 operating entities.

Imperial Logistics International provides complete logistics solutions including contract logistics, warehousing, inland waterway shipping and related valueadded services across major European markets, but predominantly in Germany.

Key data – Logistics

Revenue 34   27 704   20 636  
Profit from operations 33   1 508   1 136  
Operating margin (%)     5,4   5,5  
Net operating assets 52   10 374   6 837  
Revenue to net operating assets (times)     2,7   3,0  
Weighted average invested capital 51   8 639   5 718  
Return on invested capital (%)     10,6   12,3  
Return on invested capital (based on core earnings) (%)     12,4   12,5  
Weighted average cost of capital (%)     10,2   10,2  
Net capital expenditure 65   1 309   795  
Number of transport fleet vehicles 1   6 075   6 030  
Number of barges     78   59  
Number of ships     102   66  
Kilometres travelled by transport fleet (million kilometres)     487   463  
Fuel consumed (million litres)     235   252  
CO2 emissions (tonnes)     853 466   817 196  
Volume spillages (kilolitres)     115,43   77,27  
Number of employees 27   28 201   22 119  
Road accidents     125   105  
Number of road-related injuries (employees only)     66   70  
Number of road-related fatalities (employees only)     9   5  
Number of road-related fatalities (third-party only)     59   46  
Number of non-road-related injuries     84   122  
Number of non-road-related fatalities     2   1  

Marius Swanepoel
Marius Swanepoel
CEO of SA logistics
  Key stats

Employs more than 21 000 people in southern Africa, including over 4 750 truck drivers and 3 500 merchandisers
Manages more than 5 500 vehicles
Employs over 2 000 subcontractor vehicles
Operates from more than 968 locations in 14 countries
Provides product handling and storage in facilities exceeding 750 000 m2, including hazardous-certified warehouses


Significant contract gains and renewals
Acquisitions contributed positively
Gold Award at the Logistics Achiever Awards relating to supply chain solutions in the fruit industry
First place in the Best Energy Saving and Transport categories at the Enviropaedia Eco Logics Awards
Received the African Access National Business Award for contribution to addressing the skills gap in the industry

Divisional overview

With extensive operations throughout southern Africa and a growing African footprint, Imperial SA logistics partners with clients to leverage the value inherent in their supply chains, thereby contributing to revenue, bottom-line and return on investment. The company acts as an extension of its clients’ business, collaborating with them on building their brands and unlocking the competitive advantage contained in a complex and dynamic logistics environment.

A combination of pre-eminent supply chain management skills and an extensive resource base of transportation, warehousing and distribution operations help to differentiate the division. It applies best-of-breed integrative processes and technology solutions to manage operational processes across end-to-end value chains, and optimises the benefits of being a large, multi-branded business while retaining agility, customer focus and an entrepreneurial flair.

The division’s strategic focus is in four key areas: enhancing its service offering through strategic acquisitions; winning significant new business in key markets; expanding industry knowledge to better serve these markets; and establishing a powerful footprint in Africa.

It is a multi-branded business with five core divisions, managed on a decentralised basis with exposure to diverse markets, industries, countries and clients.

Strategic acquisitions

Contribution to revenue
by industry
Contribution to revenue by industry(%)

Key acquisitions during the period included:

  • 70% stake in La Grange Transport, a Tulbagh-based business that provides access to the lucrative Western Cape fruit industry
  • 80% in Kings Transport, a load consolidation business, which strengthens the division’s ability to service customers with smaller loads
  • 60% of IJ Snyman Transport, an established cross-border transporter that operates in Angola, DRC, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia. This strengthens the group’s African presence and capacity
  • 60% of Synchronised Logistics Solution, an automotive logistics and supply chain specialist which boosts our ability to service the time-sensitive and accuracy-focused automotive industry

Winning new business in key markets

During the year the division was awarded new contracts which included some sizeable contracts in the mining and petrochemical industries. Contracts were renewed with companies across a broad spectrum of industries including glass manufacturing, FMCG, petrochemical, steel manufacturing and mining. The division’s current sales pipeline contains significant new business opportunities in a broad spectrum of industry sectors.

Current industry exposure and revenue by activity is illustrated in the opposite graph.

Establishing a footprint in Africa

Imperial Logistics will continue to expand into Africa through selective acquisitions and alignment with its customers’ African expansion strategies. The recent acquisition of IJ Snyman Transport and the increased shareholding in Transport Holdings are good examples of this strategy.

Operating units

SA logistics has five operating divisions:

Consumer products

Transport and warehousing

Specialised freight

The Africa division
Integration services
Offers integrated supply chain solutions to a wide range of FMCG, retail and agriculture businesses.

Delivers full-spectrum logistics and supply chain services including long-haul and cross-border transport, distribution, cargo consolidation, warehousing and supply chain management.

With a large modern tanker fleet the division provides specialised transport services to various industries throughout Africa. It is the leader in the petrochemical, industrial chemical, cement, fuel, liquid petroleum gas and food-grade products industries.
With operations across 14 African countries, manages total cargo flow and end-to-end logistics. Expansion plans include establishing operations in West Africa, as well as the Great Lakes region. The acquisition of CIC Holdings, an FMCG distribution business, has significantly increased the scope of operations by providing the ideal platform and network to take advantage of the fast-growing consumer market in Africa.
Offers consulting and advisory services across the entire supply chain. The division continues to make a valuable contribution to the intellectual capital of the division, specifically by assisting other divisions to expand and integrate client solutions and offer value added services to their customers.

Footprint in AfricaMarket conditions

The manufacturing sector of the South African economy is currently weak and a number of our South African logistics customers are under pressure. Despite volume pressure in our customer base, we continue to benefit from the trend to outsourcing by companies who want a viable and cost-effective option and prefer to focus on their core business. With many of our clients looking for cost reduction and efficiency improvements, we are focused on providing significant additional value-added services to our clients.


The division faced a challenging trading environment but gained and retained a number of significant contracts. Acquisitions also contributed positively. Several of our customers experienced strike action in July 2011 and volumes were under pressure throughout the year. Volumes in the manufacturing sector suffered in the second half. CIC, which is involved in the distribution of FMCG products into many African markets, performed well despite increased competition. It was included for a full year against eight months in the prior period.

Despite challenging trading conditions, the operating margin was in line with the prior year. CIC, which operates at lower margins than the rest of the division, also impacted margins but it generates good returns.

R million 2012   2011   Change
  H2 2012   H2 2011   Change
% on
H2 2011
  H1 2012   Change
% on
H1 2012
Revenue 16 457   13 788   19,4   8 146   7 286   11,8   8 311   (2,0)  
Operating profit 910   786   15,8   397   350   13,4   513   (22,6)  
Operating margin (%) 5,5   5,7       4,9   4,8       6,2      

The consumer logistics business was negatively impacted by weak volumes, mainly in our manufacturing client base. This affected all businesses in the supply chain, including our warehousing and distribution operations. The Cold Chain also experienced difficult trading conditions and whilst the operations have been stabilised, it continues to underperform from a trading perspective.

Our transport and warehousing business, which services the manufacturing, mining, commodities and construction industries, performed satisfactorily, despite volumes being under pressure. New contract gains made a positive contribution to results.

The specialised freight business produced good results as volumes grew in the fuel and gas markets due to new contract gains. The cement and sulphuric acid markets were under pressure, whilst volumes in bulk food and chemicals remain stable.

A tipper business which mainly services the mining industry, was established two years ago and is now contributing meaningfully to the division’s results.

In the Africa division, transport volumes were under pressure. We experienced lower volumes being transported from South Africa into the rest of Africa, as other trade corridors become more reliable and cost effective. Certain customers in our Namibia business were also under pressure during the period. CIC, which is involved in the distribution of FMCG products into many African markets, continues to enjoy good growth and performed well on the back of buoyant consumer spending in its markets, although we are experiencing a heightened level of competition.

Integration services produced good results with Volition and E- Logics performing well. The division continues to make a valuable contribution to the intellectual capital of the group, specifically by assisting other divisions to expand and integrate client solutions and offer value added services to their customers. Megafreight performed well but due to a dispute, we are in negotiations with our co-shareholders, who own 40%, to acquire our shareholding.

Gross capital expenditure of R1 287 million was incurred. The net investment in the fleet is higher than the prior year, which is in line with the scheduled replacement cycle.

Risks and opportunities
Low economic growth
New business gains from existing clients
Import substitution
New contract gains (trend to outsourcing)
Lacklustre consumer demand
Lack of infrastructure investment
Africa expansion
Rail opportunities


Our people

Skills development, safety, health and transformation are focus areas in the SA logistics division.

The company invests in ongoing safety training and monitors and reports on all safety-related incidents. During the year, there were 125 road accidents, 66 road-related injuries to employees, nine road-related fatalities to employees and 59 road-related fatalities to third party individuals. Total non-road related injuries and fatalities amounted to 84 and two respectively.

HIV/Aids and other life threatening diseases have a significant impact on the trucking industry. SA logistics makes an annual investment in the Trucking Wellness Programme, which was initiated by the National Bargaining Council for the Road Freight and Logistics Industry. This investment contributes to six of the 22 total Roadside Wellness Centres, which include a training facility with a peer educator and a fully equipped clinic with a registered nursing sister.

Skills development focuses on all employees, from those in entry-level positions up to senior management. Around R87 million was invested in this area during the year.

SA logistics’ B-BBEE status has been steadily improving since 2007 and the company is a verified level 3 contributor.

Our impact on the environment

SA logistics’ key potential environmental impacts arise from fuel emissions, water used for washing of vehicles and the transportation of materials and substances on behalf of clients that may pose a threat to the environment.

There were 170 environmental incidents during the year, including spillages of 115 kilolitres. All spillages, even those of a litre or less, are recorded and reported and none of the spillages during the year was significant. Stringent policies are in place and appropriate steps taken to ensure that spillage of any hazardous substances transported on behalf of clients is dealt with responsibly.

During the year SA logistics won first place in the Best Energy Saving and Transport categories at the Enviropaedia Eco Logics Awards.

Imperial Logistics’ extensive list of initiatives within its ‘green logistics evolution’ won it the Transport Award. The initiatives include world-class driver training and employee engagement, the introduction of South Africa’s first Euro 5 vehicles, ‘extra distance’ studies and network redesign to eliminate logistics inefficiencies, as well as the application of nitrogen powered transport refrigeration.

The SA logistics division’s total carbon emissions were 695 688 tCO2e during the year, of which 639 016 tCO2e were scope 1 and 56 673 tCO2e were scope 2 emissions. It has installed sophisticated fuel management systems that allow it to track the fuel consumption for each vehicle, and expects the system to help us improve our fuel efficiency by between 10% and 15%.

Commitment to our customers

While SA logistics is a large multi-branded business, it has a strong focus on understanding and meeting the unique needs of customers in each of the industries in which it operates and on customising its service offerings accordingly. It acts as a strategic partner to customers’ businesses, providing them with sustainable, resilient supply chains that support their growth, profitability and return on investment.

As a business partner, it engages with customers on an ongoing basis and measures key customer satisfaction indicators, tracking the results of such surveys to facilitate a quick response to any customer issues that may arise.

Key macro and performance drivers
Macro drivers   Performance drivers
GDP growth
Cost control and efficiencies
Interest rates
Strict asset management/fleet utilisation
Exchange rates
Return on invested capital
Consumer spending
Working capital efficiency
Manufacturing activity
Integration of logistics services
Infrastructure efficiency
Broadening service offerings to clients
Fuel price

Outlook and strategic objectives

In the short term, we expect trading conditions to remain challenging. In the medium to long term, the prospects of the logistics market are good as customers outsource more of their activities to logistics specialists and expectations are that the industry will grow faster than GDP growth. Given Imperial’s infrastructure and network, it is ideally positioned to capitalise on theses growth opportunities and win more contracts from existing and new clients.

Expansion into Africa is a key priority and will continue to gain momentum. CIC will also play a key role in our African expansion into the fast-growing FMCG sector. Acquisitions in both South Africa and the rest of Africa will be a further growth driver.

Strategic objectives
Use our strong positioning in the markets we operate in to capitalise on the growth opportunities presented by the logistics industry
Expansion into Africa
Invest in African supply chain management capabilities as we follow our clients into Africa
Support our customers to invest in route to market solutions
Target a long-term return on invested capital – minimum of 4% above cost of capital

Gerhard Riemann
Gerhard Riemann
CEO of international logistics
  Key stats

Two million m2 of storage capacity
740 inland vessels (180 owned)
Around 400 trucks
20 hazardous goods warehouses with 328 000 pallet places
Biggest fleet of subcontracted inland water vessels in Europe
Handles 95 million tonnes of transport and handling volume per year
Employs around 7 000 people


Excellent performance from all major business units; results exceeded expectations
Significant contract gains and renewals
Acquisition of 100% of Lehnkering, one of Europe’s leading full-service specialist logistics companies that primarily serves the chemical, agricultural, petrochemical and steel industries
Acquisition of 74,9% of Dettmer Bulk Reederei, a dry bulk shipping business operating on the Rhine and the German canal system
Imperial Shipping Group received the Green Award for high ecological standards

Divisional overview

Imperial Logistics International provides holistic and tailor-made logistics solutions in the German and broader European economies. It services clients in the chemical; automotive; steel; energy; pulp and paper; metal; mechanical engineering and plant construction; and food industries. Of these, the chemicals, automotive and steel industries contribute the most significant portion to the company’s revenue.

The company is a leader in many of its niche markets and acts as a strategic partner to clients by providing logistics services along the entire supply chain. Its services play a key role in trade flows in and out of Germany and it makes a significant contribution to the country’s powerful manufacturing and export industries.

The business combines own transport capacities with chartered vehicles for superior service and enhanced returns. It operates through five key divisions: Imperial Shipping Group, Lehnkering Logistics & Services, Neska, Panopa and Brouwer Shipping & Chartering.

Operating units

Imperial Shipping Group



Brouwer (associate)
The leading inland waterway shipping company in Europe, Imperial Shipping Group comprises 23 operating companies in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Romania and Austria.

It provides dry bulk services; chartering services; liquid cargo services; and short sea and special services. Materials transported include coal, iron ore, bulk, liquid bulk, gas, chemicals, mineral oils, steel, construction materials, agricultural products, heavy lift and project cargo.

The group has a fleet of around 740 vessels, of which it owns approximately 180, with a total load capacity of 1,3 million tonnes. It transports more than 60 million tonnes of dry and liquid bulk materials on all major European inland waterways and coastal areas each year.

Lehnkering is one of Europe’s leading full-service specialist logistics companies, servicing the chemical, agricultural, petrochemical and steel industries. It offers a complete range of logistics solutions, including inland waterway shipping of gas, liquid and dry bulk cargo; road transportation; warehousing; and distribution services across Central and North Western Europe. The inland waterway shipping activities of Lehnkering are now housed in the Imperial Shipping Group. Lehnkering will in future be the focused chemical logistics unit of Imperial Logistics International.

The company also provides complementary specialist value-added services, such as procurement services of raw materials, manufacturing and packaging of agricultural and fine chemicals, onsite contract logistics and tank cleaning.

Panopa is a leading logistics service provider in the steel, automotive and spare-parts industries, offering services that include consulting and planning, warehouse management, order picking and sequencing, partial processing and preliminary assembly, as well as transport and freight forwarding. It operates two large multi-user warehouses that deliver spare parts globally to a number of blue-chip customers.

Panopa has a storage capacity of 650 000m2.

Neska operates bulk and container terminals in the main industrial centres along Germany’s inland waterways. It has total storage capacities of approximately 960 000m² and manages the transshipment of:

1,4 million containers
1,5 million tonnes of paper and forestry products
1 million tonnes of refractory products
1 million tonnes of ferro alloys and minerals
1 million tonnes of aluminium
800 000 tonnes of steel
220 000 tonnes of coal
200 000 tonnes of sand and gravel


Brouwer is a specialist in worldwide chartering. Its activities include:

Worldwide shipment of all bulk commodities such as grain and grain products, feedstuff, steel, coke, coal, timber and scrap
Pipe, project and heavy-lift cargoes
Arrangement of cargo handling services worldwide, including domestic transport
Operating and handling of time charters
Clearance and agency in all German ports


Market conditions   Footprint in Europe
German industries, and in particular export-oriented sectors where the majority of Imperial Logistics International’s customer base operates, have enjoyed significant growth. A weaker Euro has also contributed to the positive performance of these industries.

The European logistics market has a total value of €930 billion, with Germany contributing about 23% of the value. The top 10 logistics service providers in the European market have a combined market share of approximately 12%. The market is therefore highly fragmented and presents significant consolidation opportunities.

  Footprint in Europe

EUR/USD exchange rate, German employment, GDP and exports (2002 – 2011)
EUR/USD exchange rate, German employment, GDP and exports (2002 – 2011)


International logistics (EUR)

Euro million 2012   2011   Change
  H2 2012   H2 2011   Change
% on
H2 2011
  H1 2012   Change
% on
H2 2012
Revenue 1 087   716   51,8   690   377   83,0   397   73,8  
Operating profit 59   38   55,3   39   22   77,3   20   95,0  
Operating margin (%) 5,4   5,3       5,7   5,8       5,0      

International logistics (ZAR)

R million 2012   2011   Change
  H2 2012   H2 2011   Change
% on
H2 2011
  H1 2012   Change
% on
H1 2012
Revenue 11 247   6 848   64,2   7 088   3 639   94,8   4 159   70,4  
Operating profit 598   350   70,9   396   194   104,1   202   96,0  
Operating margin (%) 5,3   5,1       5,6   5,3       4,9      

Imperial Logistics International achieved an outstanding result and the strong performance in the first half continued into the second half of the year, not only as a result of the Lehnkering acquisition but also due to new contract gains and solid trading conditions in Germany. Imperial Logistics International’s key markets, namely steel, automotive manufacturing, chemicals and export industries in Germany, performed well and their growth exceeded our expectations. Revenue growth was experienced across all major business units. Excluding the contribution from Lehnkering, the revenue and operating profit grew 11% and 16%, in Euro terms, respectively.

The group’s shipping activities, and that of Lehnkering, have been integrated into one unit, namely the Imperial Shipping Group. The division had an excellent year in a market where volumes were strong.

The integration of the newly acquired Lehnkering was successful and it performed in line with expectations. Lehnkering will, subsequent to its integration into the group be housing all our chemical industry logistics activities in Europe, except for shipping. This includes warehousing, road transport and chemical manufacturing services.

Panopa, which provides parts distribution and in-plant logistics services to automotive, machinery, and steel manufacturers, performed well. Contract gains and renewals, combined with a solid market especially in the automotive and machinery segment, were the main drivers of growth and improved profitability.

Neska performed satisfactorily and benefited from increased volumes on the back of increased export and import activity. Despite the European economic crisis, transshipment volumes in the bulk segment remained stable. The paper, liquid chemical and food segments experienced growth. Although container volumes were strong, rates remain subdued.

Gross capital expenditure of R344 million was incurred. This is higher than the prior year, but in line with the growth being achieved in this division.

Risks and opportunities
Change in transport flows
Drive for efficiency in the logistics supply chain
Exchange rates
Environmentally friendly logistics solutions
Lacklustre consumer demand
Exposure to industries with good medium- to long-term growth prospects
Decreasing foreign trade growth
Trend to outsourcing
European economic crisis
Following our customer base into other geographies


Our people

The availability of skilled staff is crucial for the success of our business. Imperial Logistics International supports skills development on various levels in many areas including language training, logistics and accounting.

In Poland, Panopa has collaborated closely with the University of Poznan and developed a logistics degree at bachelor and master’s levels. To date, numerous Panopa employees have received this qualification. Other businesses within the Imperial Logistics International group sponsor university studies for employees.

The most important skills development initiative involves training school-leavers in line with Germany’s ‘Duales System’ (dual system), which helps young people to gain professional knowledge and experience while studying theory. Roughly 8% of the company’s total staff complement is currently participating in these programmes.

While broad-based black economic empowerment is a model specific to South Africa, the integration of people from different cultures is equally important in Europe where the labour market is open to all people living in countries in the European Union. It is vital to gain access to skilled workforces outside home markets, particularly in Germany which has a large contingent of people approaching retirement. Imperial Logistics International has a diverse workforce of different nationalities and diversity and cultural awareness training programmes play a central role in ensuring the seamless integration of these cultures into a unified workforce.

Quality, environment, health and safety

All divisions meet internationally acknowledged standards including:

  • Guidelines on occupational safety and health management: NLF/ILO-OSH 2001
  • Specifications for occupational health and safety management: OHSAS 18000
  • Standards related to environmental management: ISO 14001
  • Standards related to quality management systems: ISO 900
  • Guidelines on safety and security for customs procedures: AEO (Authorised Economic Operator).

Certain divisions also meet with customer-specific requirements. Panopa, for example, has VDA (Verband Deutsche Automobilhersteller/Association of Germany Automotive Manufacturer) 6.2. certification, a requirement for service providers in the automotive industry.

Continuous risk analysis processes monitor adherence to occupational health and safety standards and measure performance in this area.

Issues of energy efficiency and green logistics are a key priority in the European market. With a focus on intelligently networking all carriers and by expanding its intermodal division Neska directs commodities to its terminals and many goods are transported by truck only for the final leg of their destination.

The former Lehnkering Shipping Services is registered with the Oil Companies International Marine Forum (OCIMF) and holds Tanker Management Self-Assessment certification for environmental and safety management performance. It is the only inland shipping company to hold a level 2 category in this regard.

The Cologne branch of Neska and the Imperial Shipping Group specialise in the proper storage and handling of animal feed. TÜV Rheinland confirmed the companies’ compliance with the internationally recognised GMP+ standard. It covers all aspects of manufacture, including trade, collection, storage and transshipment of animal feed.

In 2011/12, six tankers and one gas tanker of the Imperial Shipping Group received the Green Award for high ecological standards. An application for further vessels has been submitted.

Key macro and performance drivers
Macro drivers   Performance drivers
German GDP growth
Cost control and efficiencies
Export growth out of Germany
Strict asset management
Global trade growth
Working capital efficiency
Business and industrial activity
Return on invested capital
Infrastructure efficiency
Fuel price

Outlook and strategic objectives

The strong growth experienced in our international logistics division over the past three years has created a substantial base for further growth. The Lehnkering acquisition and the favourable terms of the financing arrangements will make a positive impact on the results for the coming financial year as it will make a contribution for the full year. Despite the economic crisis in Europe, we are positive about the medium-term prospects of our international logistics business. It is well positioned in attractive niches in the logistics industry in Germany and acquisitions could be a further growth driver. Our management in Germany continues to be vigilant in assessing the situation across Europe in order to be able to react to any significant developments that affect our related business and volumes.

Strategic objectives
Maximise position in current niches and segments
Take advantage of trend to outsourcing
Pursue acquisitions in areas we currently operate – mainly through consolidation and diversification
Follow our customer base into other geographies, eg Eastern Europe, South America


back to top ^