Transnet looks to cash in on Africa's potential
South African port operator Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) intends maximising on the enormous growth market represented by Africa, by forming partnerships with other African ports and promoting the country as a regional hub for the rest of the continent.
TPT Acting Chief Executive, Logan Naidoo*, said the state-owned port operator had previous experience outside South Africa, which could help to position African ports as the growth engines of their respective economies.
This is in support of nine strategic transport sector objectives set out by the African Union and NEPAD (New Partnership for African Growth). These focused on enhanced efficiency of transport infrastructure, services and key transport corridors to strengthen the economic and social development of the African continent.
Naidoo said: “South Africa, as the most developed country in Africa, offers the infrastructure and services to unlock the region's frontiers. By facilitating the supply of goods and providing essential infrastructural services, TPT can play a vital role in the South African government’s New Growth Path strategy. This strategy seeks to widen the market for South African goods and services through a stronger focus on exports to the region’s rapidly growing economies.”
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He said TPT’s past experience outside of South Africa included assistance with terminal operating systems, port consultation and training programmes in ports such as those in Namibia, Kenya, Cameroon and Mauritius. The former Portcon International consultancy arm of sister division Transnet National Port Authority (TNPA) had likewise carried out work in Ghana between 2001 and 2004.
A regional port planning strategy between South Africa’s deepwater Port of Ngqura and other ports in the region is now underway to leverage opportunities. South African President Jacob Zuma champions the North South Corridor and Transnet is playing a key role in ensuring that this corridor’s potential is unlocked so that freight can move easily and efficiently.
TPT had also attracted the attention of African ports thanks to the superior port operations training programmes and facilities offered at the Transnet School of Ports, located in the Port of Durban, where TNPA also offers marine training.
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5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.