MVX: Making freight shipping easier and coordinated using digital technology in Africa

How a digital freight startup is helping traders tackle ocean freight challenges in Africa.

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Freight forwarding and shipping is a multifarious area of activity. Marine and air transport systems are inherently international in nature and assume multi-stakeholder dimensions, compounding the situation even further. The nature of this sector according to UNCTAD and other experts, creates an analytical challenge in the sense that the sector plays an important role as an input production factor augmenting other economic sectors such as trade, tourism, energy and fishing. Despite the fact that a third of countries in Africa are landlocked, maritime transport is still the main gateway to the world marketplace. However, the contribution and integration of the continent in the global maritime trade and its participation in supply of shipping services has been relatively marginal.

Shipping connectivity of African countries is greatly influenced by their geolocations. Those countries located in the corners are the ones that are best connected, where international shipping routes connect to major ports and sub-regional load centers. These include Egypt, Morocco, South Africa and Djibouti, Mauritius, Togo, respectively. With this inadequate shipping connectivity, Africa has to devise other means to better connect the continent to the global marketplace. What other better way to do this than using technology? Africa is now coming up with the right tech interventions for better shipping connectivity to the rest of the world.

The tech solutions

MVX, a Nigeria-based startup founded on the need to connect vessel requests with available Offshore Support Vessels (OSVs), is changing the game — by aggregating and organising all freight and trade services through a single digital channel, all while delivering seamless and personalised experiences. The startup founders realised that in Africa, businesses were paying 40% more and taking over one month longer to move and manage international freight, while freight transactions were managed offline.

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