Following a recent interview, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer (COO) of truQ, Foluso Ojo, lamented the low level of adoption of technology in the Nigerian logistics sector and how a myriad of challenges is limiting the sector’s growth
Regarding the importance of the logistics sector to the Nigerian economy, Foluso admits how logistics is the bedrock of any economy, without which commerce will not thrive.
"The Nigerian logistics sector has yet to reach its potential due to many problems such as infrastructural deficits, weak government policies, and more."
Her recommendations on how the sector can navigate the inherent logistics challenges and fulfil its potential include: navigating some of the challenges through public-private partnerships to accelerate the development of Nigeria’s logistics infrastructure.
This is because logistics are largely dependent on infrastructure, which is something that developed countries enjoy but Nigerians do not.
In her submission, the Nigerian government needs to step up and improve the current infrastructure to enable logistics to thrive.
She recommends more interaction, innovation, and collaboration amongst the players in the private sector side of the logistics industry.
The COO declares that the major problem affecting the country’s logistics sector arises from poor infrastructure, insecurity, low technology adoption, and inconsistent policies and regulations.
To address this problem, the disconnect between regulation and reality in the sector needs to be addressed.
Moreover, the infrastructure needs to be improved while streamlining and improving the regulatory framework.
On how technology is reshaping the Nigerian logistics sector, she begins again by admitting that technology adoption has been very low as the logistics sector seems not to have been impacted by the modern technology revolution.
Such digital solutions like logistics management systems, last-mile automation, route planning and optimisation, warehouse automation, etc are yet to catch on in Nigeria.
According to the COO, this is why at truQ, they have made it a mission to automate the middle-mile logistics sector that is still plagued with manual processes.
For the future of the nation’s logistics sector, she confirms that the logistics sector in Nigeria has significant potential for growth and opportunities such that if maximised effectively, factors such as economic growth, our large population and urbanisation, the rise of e-commerce, our strategic location for trade in Africa, cross-border trade, innovation, and technology adoption will contribute to the growth of the sector and enable us to be at par with the developed countries while establishing logistics as the bedrock of our economy.
By her assessment, the poor funding of the subsector under the tech ecosystem has been overcome by players such as truQ to stay in business and thrive.
This is by focusing on different business and growth strategies such as innovation, bootstrapping, strategic partnerships, cost optimisation, service quality and pricing.
The COO summarizes the mission and vision of truQ in terms of truQ building the operating system for third-party logistics in Africa by connecting people/businesses with logistics needs to the closest vehicles in real-time and provide software as a service infrastructure that helps businesses to coordinate and automate their logistics operations.
She also concludes by admitting again that truQ is not shielded from the traditional challenges in the sector such as
poor infrastructure, inconsistent policy and regulation, low technology, and so many others.
"We are aware of these challenges and are putting in our own internal structures to not only survive but thrive in this sector with an eagle-eye focus on the customers we are serving."
Enough cannot be said about how terribly slow Nigerian policymakers have been in catching up with the technology trends elsewhere in the world.
It only appears as though Nigeria just enjoys plenty of bottlenecks and red tape that slow everything down while clapping for other leading nations in the technology space.
And why is it that most sectors have similar complaints?
Could it be that we have round pegs in square holes at the helm of affairs?
These and many more questions need be answered moving forward.
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