1Gabon Corridors Performance Evaluation: New StrategicApproach Based-Supply Chain and TransportLogistics EfficiencyJanvier...
2Cooperation between Sub-Saharan nations, through corridor-based actions can lead to significant transit advantagesfor Sub...
32.2.3 Land CorridorsLand transportation corridors can be divided into road and rail. RoadRoad transportation is the most...
4Generally these actions involved separate firms for production, storage, transportation, wholesaling, and sale, butfundam...
5of supply chain management. Giannakis, M and Croom, SR. (2004) and Injazz J Chen,Antony Paulraj(2003) take astrategic man...
6efficiency and operational characteristics. The principal measurement hypothesis is that the Gabon corridor ispractically...
7RoadsPaved roads 1173 228km2/km 1023inhab/kmUnpaved roads 7459 36km2/km 161inhab/kmTotal roads 9170 29km2/km 130inhab/kmA...
8draft. Dredging campaigns which are regularly conducted to maintain the rating operating at a satisfactorylevel substanti...
9use plan and contribute to national economic integration and sub-regional (c) safeguarding the existing infrastructuretra...
104.3.2 Railway freight servicesThe Gabonese railway has a railway network that crosses the country from east to west and ...
11Companies Countries Productivity of wagonsCAMRAIL CAMEROUN 726GRC GHANA 367NRC NIGERIA 147OCBN BENIN - NIGER 403ONCF MAR...
12In conclusion, like other African countries, the Gabonese railways activity is dominated by rail freight traffic,which r...
13Diverse 536 636 750 862 570Total flows 2680 3058 2986 3092 2802Source: Direction générale des statistiques (2010)Table 1...
144.3.4 Ports of Owendo and Port-GentilThe past of Gabonese ports, as the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa, is recent; its infra...
15cooperation with neighboring countries counterparts. This institution provides a platform to address problemsrelated to ...
16This is one of major components driving low port productivity at Gabonese ports. To solve this problem, theOwendo and Po...
17Over the last 5 years the company has indeed invested in maintenance and new equipment for an amount of 58billion CFA fr...
18This has started with the Gabon’s existing facilities, which have been overhauled in recent years. In 2003, thegovernmen...
19ReferencesAkkermans, H.A., Bogerd, P., Vos, B., (1999). Virtuous and vicious cycles on the road towards international su...
21Wood, A. (1997), Extending the supply chain: strengthening links with IT, Chemical Week, Vol. 159 No. 25, p. 26.Womack, ...
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Gabon Corridors Performance Evaluation: New Strategic Approach Based-Supply Chain and Transport Logistics Efficiency


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This paper is aimed at evaluating Gabonese corridors’ supply chain and transport logistics efficiency. The main purposes of this paper are to: (a) carry out investigations and develop enabling environment strategies; (b) suggest a strategy for boosting investment to ameliorate efficiencies. The scope of the measurement includes: supply chain efficiency (corridor infrastructure; enabling environment; stakeholders; the transport industry) and transport logistic. The principal objective of this study is to help the Gabonese Government in developing the strategic plan for the Gabonese corridors. Results from the present study obviously show that the inter-connection between the enabling environment (road, transport industry services, port and rail transport infrastructure, and the level of services) available to stakeholders have all combined to have an unfavorable effect on transport logistics services in the Gabonese corridors.

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Gabon Corridors Performance Evaluation: New Strategic Approach Based-Supply Chain and Transport Logistics Efficiency

  1. 1. 1Gabon Corridors Performance Evaluation: New StrategicApproach Based-Supply Chain and TransportLogistics EfficiencyJanvier-James ASSEY MBANGGlorious Sun School of Business and Management, Donghua UniversityPbox: 200051, 1882 West Yan an road, Shanghai, ChinaE-mail:asseyjanvier@hotmail.comAbstractThis paper is aimed at evaluating Gabonese corridors’ supply chain and transport logistics efficiency. The mainpurposes of this paper are to: (a) carry out investigations and develop enabling environment strategies; (b) suggest astrategy for boosting investment to ameliorate efficiencies. The scope of the measurement includes: supply chainefficiency (corridor infrastructure; enabling environment; stakeholders; the transport industry) and transport logistic.The principal objective of this study is to help the Gabonese Government in developing the strategic plan for theGabonese corridors. Results from the present study obviously show that the inter-connection between the enablingenvironment (road, transport industry services, port and rail transport infrastructure, and the level of services)available to stakeholders have all combined to have an unfavorable effect on transport logistics services in theGabonese corridors.Keywords: Gabon Corridors, Performance Evaluation, Strategy, Supply Chain, Transport Logistics1. IntroductionThis paper is aimed at developing a strategic plan for the Gabonese corridors. The main objective is to increaseGabonese’s both public and private sector competitiveness by strengthening targeted commodities value chains. Thescope of this measurement contributes to the efficiency of the Gabonese commodities’ supply chain by evaluatingthe transport demand and the supply characteristics of the corridors’ supply chain and transport logistics with a viewtowards improving corridors efficiency.Gabon faces many challenges to compete efficiently in the world markets. It experiences high trade transaction costs,with logistics representing an important ratio of the Gross Domestic Product, which at times can more than doublethat of other developing countries.Gabonese transport corridors serve both domestic and foreign trade. They are composed of domestic segmentswhich serve more national traffic. As a result they serve competing local demands, and endure conflicting objectivesfor their development, diverse agencies responsible for their maintenance.Journal ofSupply ChainManagementAvailable on: http://wajbas.webs.com/Journal of Supply Chain Management (2013)
  2. 2. 2Cooperation between Sub-Saharan nations, through corridor-based actions can lead to significant transit advantagesfor Sub-Saharan sea docked countries. Given the challenges facing Gabon, influencing and sensitizing Gabonesepolicy makers on how to improve access necessitates specific data on constraints to the smooth flow of traffic.Relevant data can assist in diagnose those factors of the national systems that are not functioning well so thatinfrastructure, institutional or regulatory reform interventions can be better addressed.Generally, a corridor’s performance can be assessed from two principal perspectives: an infrastructure perspective,which involves the physical capacity of nodes and links in a corridor. A service perspective, which analyses theservices’ quality provided for products moving on the diverse itineraries. Performance is assessed in terms ofaverage cost and time for transport units moving through these corridors.The principal tasks of this measurement were to examine the constraints to the efficient functioning of the Gabonesecorridors, encompassing policy and regulatory problems, coordination of infrastructure capacity, efficientmanagement of existing railways, roads, logistics services and port infrastructures.The organization of this paper is as follows: The section1 above presents the background and introduction to thisstudy. The section 2 presents a theoretical framework of the transport corridors, transport logistics, and supply chainmanagement strategies. The section 3 presents the research methodology. The section 4 presents the comprehensiveanalysis. Finally the section 5 presents the main conclusion arising from this study.2. Theoretical framework2.1 Transport corridorsTrade is dependent considerably upon the diverse transportation corridors and networks, on the inland waterways,on sea, across the air, or on the land (Rodrigue, J-P, 1999).Transport systems have offered distribution, and are regulated. According to Kenneth J. Button (2001), theregulation and structure of the transport system are likely to be affected by the territory’s spatial structure. Transportis a major component that strengthens spatial imparity by connecting a priori the most productive places.From an economic view, transport corridors provide two critical characteristics for development: land supply andlower distribution costs for diverse activities (Gillen, D.Waters, 1996; Rodrigue, J-P, 1999;Jennifer J. Loros andJerry F. Feldman,1986).2.2 Types of transport corridorsA transport corridor can be defined as a set of routes between hub centers where fluvial, maritime, air and landtransportation systems converge (Fleming,C., 1999). The corridors structure lies within a set of interconnecting hubcenters where modal interactions converge. Hub centers can be categorized in diverse modal structures: fluvial,maritime, air and land corridors.2.2.1 Maritime corridorsMaritime transportation enables the establishment of trading connections between countries and continents.Ports are generally the facilities connecting an economic system with the global market and accordingly representthe principal trade’s hub centers (Rodrigue, J-P, 1999). Ports are above multimodal convergence’s places of inwardtransportation (Hayuth,Y., 1987). Along with the economic growth, the demand for port system is increasing. Thecapacity of ports to convey commodities requires a limit to economic development.The strategy is accordingly to enable the port’s multimodal capacity to fulfill the demand of the hinterland andforeland with a dependence on the infrastructures’ logistics performance for shipment and transshipment.The maritime transportation’s logistics have experienced considerable changes during the last twenty-five years andnumerous ports have specialized in the transshipment activities (Hayuth, Y., 1987; Frankel, E., 1999b).2.2.2 Inward waterwaysAn inland waterway offers a high capacity flow. Ports play the role of hub centers by providing maritime/fluvial andland/fluvial interfaces. The land/fluvial interface generally rely less on transshipment infrastructures and is moreflexible. Ports are less appropriate to fluvial transportation but nowadays fluvial hub centers are increasinglyexperiencing integration with land and maritime transportation. Numerous industrial regions are emerging alongfluvial axis. Even if inward waterways are the traditional transportation network to be of importance still, roads andrailways have minimized their significance (Janelle, D.G. and M. Beuthe, 1997).
  3. 3. 32.2.3 Land CorridorsLand transportation corridors can be divided into road and rail. RoadRoad transportation is the most flexible land transportation mode (OECD, 1992). Its significance has increased withthe disjunction of economic systems over large regions and the growth of the industrial sector. It often handles smallshipments between numerous areas.Road transportation generally provides haulage services. The corridor linked with road transportation is not confinedto places adjacent to larger road axes, but also to points situated within a peripheral area. Road hub centers arecrossroads where locate truck yards and warehouses (W.R Black, 1993). RailRail transportation offers concurrently capacity and speed, but at the cost of flexibility. It offers an effectiveinterface between land and maritime transportation systems. Rail logistics are complicated and require networkmanagement strategies under numerous capacities’ constraints, nature of shipments, origin and destinations,schedule (Henstra, D., & Woxenius, J., 1999).2.2.4 Air corridorsAir transportation offers a fast way to connect international markets and countries. The strategy of the internationalairports is to reinforce regional connections, develop new domestic and international services for freight andpassengers, to increase their capacity (David J.Keeling, 2009).The strength of the air transportation hub is connected to its accessibility, thus reinforcing the role of airports ineconomic development. Fleming, D.K. and Hayuth, Y. (1994) have discussed how intermediacy and centrality aretwo important influences upon the location of many transport hubs.2.2.5 Multimodal transport corridorsThe significance of intermodal and multimodal transportation is well established. The utilization of containersindicates the complementary between freight transportation modes by providing a greater fluidity to standardizationand movements of loads (Mahoney, J.H., 1985).Multimodal transport generally enables economies of scale within a transportation system. Travel time and coststake a great importance in the trade’s globalization and accordingly in transportation. This is more consolidated by“door-to-door” service and “just-in-time” production that necessitate a low inventory level and movements betweenmany points of origin and destination. Facing those revolutions, transportation and industrial companies must re-assess their strategies for freight transportation. The development of innovative multimodal and modalinfrastructures on a global scale has enabled the accessibility to world market; numerous internationaltransportation’s parameters have been modified (Mahoney, J.H., 1985).The objective of a transport system is to connect economic activities, therefore supporting numerous ofcommunication points along multimodal transport corridors. Multimodal transport corridors will furnish anpenetration axis for disintegrated production systems over a region. Communication points will play an importantrole in a local economic system. The tendency for a communication point is to develop its transshipment functionsbetween hinterland and foreland (Hayuth, Y., 1987; Rodrigue, J-P, 1999).2.3 Interconnections between transportation and logisticsWithout well built transportation systems, logistics could not bring its benefits into complete play. A well organizedtransport system in logistics activities could provide potential logistics efficiency, promote service quality andminimize operation cost. The amelioration of transportation systems requires the effort from both private and publicsectors. A well-operated logistics system could maximize both the competitiveness of the Government andcompanies.2.3.1 The impacts of transportation on overall logistics activitiesTransportation fulfills a connectional role among the numerous steps that result in resources’ transformation intovaluable products in the name of the end consumer. It is the planning of all these functions into a system of productsmovement that constitutes the concept of business logistics (Fair, M.L. and Williams, E.W., 1981).
  4. 4. 4Generally these actions involved separate firms for production, storage, transportation, wholesaling, and sale, butfundamentally, manufacturing plants, warehousing services, merchandising institutions are all about doingtransportation (Fair, M.L. and Williams, E.W., 1981).2.3.2 The function of transportation in service qualityThe role that transportation fulfills in logistics system is more complicated than transporting products for the clients.Its complicatedness can take effect only through greatly quality management. Through, methods of well-handledtransport system, products could be conveyed to the correct place at correct time in order to satisfy the demands ofcustomers. It builds a bridge between manufacturers and consumers. Accordingly, transportation is the foundation ofeconomy and efficiency in business logistics. Furthermore, a well-handled transport system performing in logisticsactivities brings advantages to both service quality and firm competitiveness (Fair, M.L. and Williams, E.W., 1981).2.4 Current methods for evaluating corridor performanceCorridor performance evaluation can take two forms: (a) corridor-wide evaluation and (b) detailed evaluation atspecific locations, within a corridor. Corridor-wide evaluation encompasses data collection and surveys covering thecorridor’s length, while bottlenecks’ evaluation, on the other hand, includes data at specific locations that restricttransit movement.Three principal methodologies have been used to date, with diverse costs and focuses:a) Corridor-wide evaluation based on transport drivers’ trip diaries filled by vehicle drivers,2. Constraint evaluation based on independent surveys; the focus is generally on border-crossing time3. Corridor-wide evaluation based on freight forwarders’ interviews and cooperation with port customs andauthorities.In the primary case, chosen drivers fill journey sheets in which they report all the stops .In the second case, externaltopographer report transport costs and time. This approach is generally used for border-crossing time.In the third case, freight forwarders’ interviews, trucking firms’ managers, managers of port authorities or customsare carried out in order to collect transport / traffic time, cost, and data of clearance time.The principal dissimilarity lies in the fact that the first two methods principally consist in generating data while thethird approach principally consists in collecting existing data. For the first alternative, the institution in charge ofassessing corridor performance generally liaises with national institutions, which conduct survey works.For the second alternative, topographers are recruited temporarily. In the third case, the institution collects dataalready gathered by port, customs, and private sector operators.Generally, data precision with road transport drivers’ journey diaries is far more ambiguous than with surveysconducted with trucking and freight forwarders firms (J-F,Arvis Raballand, G. and , J-F,Marteau,2007;O.Hartmann,2007).2.5 Supply chain management strategy2.5.1 Supply chain managementSince the last decade, the domain of supply chain management has become famous.This is attested by increases in academic publications. Much of the knowledge about supply chain managementresides in various fields such as logistics, purchasing, IT and marketing.From a conceptualization view, the definition of the supply chain management is ambiguous and the effect oftheoretical diversity is such that it is unclear supply chain management is based on a systematic theory. From aresearch methodology view, it is ambiguous how the techniques used have formed supply chain managementconcepts.From a meta-analytical view, the effect on reinforcing knowledge collected along functional disciplines raisesproblems as to if supply chain management has a consistent, overarching philosophy of knowledge framework.Numerous review articles published in recent and last twelve years appear to partially address conceptual problemsand do not address methodology problems at all. For instance,Lummus R.R., Krumwiede D.W. and Vokurka R.J. (2001), Mentzer, J.T., DeWitt, W., Keebler, J.S., Min, S., Nix,N.W., Smith, C.D. & Zacharia, Z.G. (2001),Janvier-James Assey Mbang (2012) focus particularly on the definition
  5. 5. 5of supply chain management. Giannakis, M and Croom, SR. (2004) and Injazz J Chen,Antony Paulraj(2003) take astrategic management view to address theory development in the supply chain management area.For the concept of supply chain management there appears to be a consensus on its definition (Stephen J. New,1997;Lummus R.R., Krumwiede D.W. and Vokurka R.J.,2001; Mentzer, J.T., DeWitt, W., Keebler, J.S., Min, S., Nix,N.W., Smith, C.D. & Zacharia, Z.G.,2001; Janvier-James Assey Mbang ,2012).Mentzer, J.T., DeWitt, W., Keebler, J.S., Min, S., Nix, N.W., Smith, C.D. & Zacharia, Z.G.,(2001) and Janvier-James Assey Mbang (2012) attempted to propose a definition that is broad and appropriately reflecting the issuesthat are generally covered under this concept.By adopting Janvier-James Assey Mbang (2012) definition,we can define supply chain management as a chain offacilities and distribution alternatives that performs the functions of obtainment of products, transformation of theseproducts into intermediate and finished goods, and the distribution of these finished goods to customers researchers.2.5.2 Main Supply chain management strategiesSupply Chain has been built in two principal schools of thought, namely Agility and Lean Thinking. These twostrategies are analyzed from a conceptual level to a tactical and operational level. The potential effect of thesestrategies on transport is proposed in this study. Agile Supply ChainAgility has come as a new model under the existing market conditions in many sectors. Naylor, J. Ben, Naim,Mohamed M., and Berry, D. (1999) define Agility as using a virtual corporation and market knowledge to achievebeneficial opportunities in a changeable market place. Christopher, M. and Towill, D.R., (2000) declared thatAgility is a business-wide aptitude that includes information systems, organizational structures, logistics processes.An important feature of an agile organization is flexibility, and certainly the origins of agility lie in flexibleproducing systems. But, Agility’s definition does not mention clearly about the features and attributes of this supplychain strategy. Supply Chain IntegrationThe concept of Integration has been studied broadly in the field of supply chain management. Integration isgenerally characterized by collaboration, information sharing, cooperation, trust, shared technology, partnerships,and a basic shift away from controlling individual operational processes, to controlling integrated chains(Akkermans, H.A., Bogerd, P., Vos, B., 1999). The efficiency of the response of an organization to hastily changingmarket conditions will be determined by the capacities of trading partners. A producer with suppliers that have poordelivery records and quality will find it complicated to provide high levels of customer service (Damien Power,2005).Wood, A. (1997) enunciated the importance of KPIs alignment across departments through collaboration andcooperation, and declared that commonly producing and sales have had poor targets’ alignment.The principal objective of strategic collaborations is to control and optimize costs agreeably, while concurrentlyreinforcing the market positions of partners (Zinn, W. and Bowersox, D.J., 1988; Bowersox et al 1995). Lean Supply ChainThe Lean Thinking’s theory has emerged with time. The expression “lean production” was primarily used to depictthe process of reduction of waste in the automotive industry (Womack, J., Jones, D.T. and Roos, D., 1990). Jones D.T., Hines P. and Rich N. (1997) assert that Lean thinking has a natural beginning point with value for the customerlooking at the whole processes. But, Leanness signifies building a value stream to remove all waste, encompassingtime (Naylor J.B., Naim M. M, Danny Berry, 1999).Hines P., Holweg M. and Rich N. (2004) declared that Leanexists at two levels: operational and strategic. The customer value-creation strategic thinking can be applieseverywhere, but, Lean Thinking cannot be adapted to all kinds of products (Fisher, M. L., 1997; Suzaki, K., 1987).3. Research methodology3.1Measurement hypothesisIn this study, the measurement was conducted on the hypothesis that the Gabonese corridors can be situated along anS-curve shaped expansion path that includes the main stages of corridor development: transport corridor, amultimodal corridor, a logistics corridor and an economic corridor. Each corridor development stage has distinctive
  6. 6. 6efficiency and operational characteristics. The principal measurement hypothesis is that the Gabon corridor ispractically a multimodal corridor due firstly to the predominance of road freight services, railway services and a portsystem but the Gabon corridors lacks the efficient coordination to be a logistics.This measurement analyzes the characteristics of the infrastructure supply, the freight demand; functional andperformance characteristics of the corridor to measure the constraints restricting the normal functioning of theGabon corridors as a logistics corridor.To address the hypotheses the focal point of this measurement were on 4 main aspects of the transport logisticsupply chain: (a) infrastructure; (b) the enabling environment; (c) the industry of transport and (d) logistics servicesproviders and main shippers (extractive industries).3.2 Data CollectionIn this study, the data collection included: (a) a review of published data and studies and (b) interviews conductedwith stakeholders. The methods of interviews involved through direct phone calls and face to face interviews anddata collection were conducted in Gabon from August 10th to 30th, 2011. About 30 interviews of public sectorexecutives, commercial owners, shipping agents, freight forwarders, and transport service operators were conducted.3.3 Key VariablesTo conduct the analysis 7 key variables were measured across the whole logistics supply chain as the foundation totest the hypothesis and measure the efficiency of the Gabonese corridors. These variables encompassed: (a)collection handling and shipping activities from the production or extractive points to main collection points(markets); (b) road freight services (c) railway operations; (d) conditions of road; (e) port operations; (f) tradefacilitation; (g) container terminal operations.The analyses conducted encompassed comparative transport cost analysis, transport demand analysis; benchmarkingoperational performance, service level and capacity analysis.3.4 Methodical survey instrumentsDue to the importance stakeholders play in supply chain and transport logistics and in order to drive policy,institutional reform and attract investments in the Gabonese corridors a strategic approach is necessary. Such astrategic approach must include traders, shippers and consignees; transport and logistics service providers;infrastructure; and national institutions, policies, and rules.The survey instruments have been developed in 4 aspects, which align with the 7 variables and the hypothesisformulated above. The 4 aspects are (a) infrastructure; (b) the enabling environment; (c) the transport industry; and(d) stakeholders (corridor users such as shipping agents and transporters). We postulate that the interconnection ofthese aspects determines the performance and efficiency of the logistics supply chain, as assessed in terms ofreliability, responsiveness, and cost efficiency.Furthermore their respective efficiency and performance measures disclosed both the coordination and integration’slevel, and the services capacity within the supply chain and transport logistics.4. ANALYSIS4.1 Infrastructures4.1.1 Gabon national road networkOf the 9,170 km of public roads that encompasses Gabon in 2004, there were 1,173 km of paved roads, ofwhich 163 are under work, against 7459 km of unpaved roads (Table1). The network serves almost all of thespace of Gabon, except of the province of Ogooué-Maritime. Gabon’s roads are not real intense organicconnection to the national level.Roads density is low compared to the population (7 km to 1000inhabitants) (Commissariat General au plan et au development, 1999). Table 2 summarizes the allocationsfor roads by province.Table 1: Penetration of the main transport infrastructure in GabonInfrastructure Quantity (km)service for a theoretical unit infrastructure(km2/km) (Inhabitants/km)Waterway 3300 81km2/km 306 inhab/kmRailway 658 407km2/km 1520 inhab/km
  7. 7. 7RoadsPaved roads 1173 228km2/km 1023inhab/kmUnpaved roads 7459 36km2/km 161inhab/kmTotal roads 9170 29km2/km 130inhab/kmAirportsInternational airports 3 89222km2/km 337000Regional airport (public) 26 10295km2/km 38885Privates airports 73 3667km2/km 12849Source: Le Commissariat Général au Plan et au Développement(1999).Table 2: Differences in allocations of roads (including urban roads) by provinceProvinces theoretical service road for 1 kmProvinces Linear Population Km2Km2/km Inhab/kmEstuaire 750 463187 20740 28 618Woleu-Ntem 1060 97271 38465 36 92Haut-Ogooue 1620 104301 36547 23 64Moyen-Ogooue 400 42316 18535 46 106Ogooue-Maritime 40 97913 22890 572 2448Ogooue-Ivindo 1090 48862 46075 42 45Ogooue-Lolo 600 43915 25380 42 73Ngounie 1490 77781 37750 25 52Nyanga 610 39430 21285 35 65Source: le Commissariat Général au Plan et au Développement (1999).4.1.2 Gabon corridor railwayInaugurated in 1978, the 670 km Gabonese railway is the countrys only railway. The railway conveys about 3million tons of freight (manganese ore, timber and uranium), and nearly two hundred thousand passengers per year.A permit to operate the railway was signed in 2005, and then, the concessionaire SETRAG initiated a program ofinvestment to enhance capacity of the railway (Berger World, 2011; Jane’s, 2011).In order to ease the transporation of manganese ore, the Gabonese Government conducted a railway (Trans-Gabon)that firstly served from Libreville (Owendo) to Moanda, and on to Mbinda.The use of the railroad has cut shipping costs by $20 million per year. In 2000, 1.7 million tons of metallurgical-grade ore were extracted, down from 2.044 in 1998(Encyclopedia of the Nations, 2011).The line is single-track, so the manganese ore trains have to share the line with timber. Techniques of increasing thecapacity of the line have being debated, as well as the possibility to add a partial (or full) twin track to the actual line(Sarah Monaghan, 2007).The business of the Trans-Gabon was a poor profitability: the transport of passenger, remains well below thecapacity of the railway (19 000 tons total weight).Beyond the profitability of Trans-Gabon, this mean of transport isrelatively quick and efficient regardless of the season.In terms of technical performance, the transport capacity of Trans-Gabon is insufficient because of theunavailability of rolling stock. The General Planning Commission in its study onintermodal transportation plan (1998-2015) mentions that in 1996, among the 34 line locomotives, only 6 wasusable and 4 was being used. Of a total of 800 wagons, 300 were reformed and only 300 are actually used(Commissariat General au plan et au development, 1999).4.1.3 The Gabonese principal portsGabon has 800 km of coastline on which two principal business activities are managed: Owendo and Port Gentil.4.1. 3.1 Owendo ports, three terminals: log, minerals and TradeThe Owendo ports are located in Libreville and are in poor condtions. The manager of ports and harbors of Gabon(OPRAG) experiences enormous difficulties to ensure the security of their access to ships of deep
  8. 8. 8draft. Dredging campaigns which are regularly conducted to maintain the rating operating at a satisfactorylevel substantially encumber its budget (Gisèle Makiela, 2007).4.1. 3.2 Port-Gentil first economic center: wood and oilThe Port-Gentil port benefits from the stability since it is a seaport and offers adequate water conditionsto the accommodation of large ships. This gives it a decisive comparative advantage to accommodate shipsof deep draft. These strengths should not overshadow the disadvantages which make portexpansion difficult. Despite a generally low topography, the most acute problem is the proximity of wetlands andintrusive urban structure. This port also encountered logistical problems (Gisèle Makiela, 2007).Table 3 shows the traffic of a few ports of West Africa. At the CEMAC zone, we found that in 1996 the totalvolume of goods handled at the Port of Douala (PAD) is higher than Owendo-Libreville (4.306million tons against 3.477 million tons). On the other hand, the performance of Port-Gentil is related to hydrocarbonstreams which swell the traffic (Gisèle Makiela, 2007).Table 3: Traffic of some West-African ports in 1996 (in thousands of tons)Cities ShipTrafficenteredTrafficoutTotaltrafficLiquidbuilkDrybuilkDiverse ContainersDouala 1157 2216 2090 4306 602 571 3133 734Dakar 2542 3764 2264 6028 2136 1851 2041 720Cotonou 1321 1796 424 2220 298 460 1462 614Owendo - Libreville 1216 540 2737 3477 198 35 3244 146Port-Gentil 1492 178 17540 17719 17087 482 150 12Source: Marcadon (1996)Table 4 gives a description regarding the characteristics of the main vessels that dock at ports of Owendo. Table 4:Characteristics of some ships docking at ports of Owendo (January 2005)Source: the author of this study4.2 Enabling Environment4.2.1 Institutional arrangementOperations and administration of the transport sector in Gabon are multi-tiered, including government ministry,provincial governments, agencies and private sector companies.The Ministry of transport and commercial shipping rules Gabon’s rail, road, and port sectors. At the local level,these sectors are ruled by Gabonese provincial governments. The Ministry of public works is in charge ofmanagement and administration of the road sector (Gabon, 2006).4.2.2 Road sector policyRoad sector policy in use in Gabon was adopted by the Government 15 years ago. Its main lines are recorded in adocument that was developed in an economic recession context. It focused on the progressive disengagement of thestate towards productive sector, and commercial services. The transport sector policy aims seven goals, namely: (a)organize a transport system capable of meeting the needs of population and productive sectors, (b) support the landType of vessel Length (m) Width (m) Draught (m) Occupied berthPinardier 113,6 17,7 8,0 Dock 1Pétrolier 103,6 14,8 5,6 Dock 4Cargo 137,3 19,5 6,4 Dock 3Porte-conteneurs 195,0 32,0 11,0 Dock 1Minéralier 190,0 32,3 11,9 Mineral dockRo-ro 196,5 32,2 10,7 Dock 1Cargo 201,6 27,8 11,2 Dock 3Cargo-grumier 1176,4 30,0 10,5 Wood roadsteadGrumier 154,5 25,0 9,2 Wood roadsteadNavires frigorifiques 134,0 20,2 7,1 Dock 3
  9. 9. 9use plan and contribute to national economic integration and sub-regional (c) safeguarding the existing infrastructuretransport, (d) rationalize investments in the transport sector to reduce their weight in the state budget, (e) reducetransportation costs for users while improving service quality and safety, (f) facilitate the transport of persons andproperty between major cities, and (g) strengthen the management capacity of institutions and companies.Road sector policy was first used as a basis for the development intermodal transport plan (Banque Africaine deDéveloppement, 2007).The departments involved in the sector are:a) Ministry of Public Works, equipment and construction and the Ministry of transport ;b) The Ministry of Economy, Finance, Budget and Privatization;c) The Ministry of Planning and Development Programming;d) The central administrations Road Maintenance Fund (FER 2) (Banque Africaine de Développement, 2007).4.2.3 Road sector strategyGabon has undertaken to accelerate programs to improve the national road network to increase the volume oftrade at the regional level. In September 2011; the African Development Bank (ADB) has approved 285million Euros to finance the second phase of the road (PR2) in Gabon. The objective was to provide Gabonwith 7,000 km of paved roads, to improve access to the coastal city of Port-Gentil, and develop river transportnetworks. The Bank has assumed 86.3% of the project cost, while the Gabonese government has paid forthe remaining 13.7%.The PR2 covers three major road sections. The first segment is Mouila-Ndendé (70 km).The second segment is Ndendé-Tchibanga (85 km). (Oxford Business Group, 2012).The third section is Port-Gentil-Mandorové.The PR2s aim was to create a vital link with the provinces of the southwest, which could contribute to thedevelopment of agribusiness, mining and tourism. New roads should also reduce 38% of operating costs of vehicles.According to the summary of ADB project, works has begun in March 2012 and will be completed inMarch 2016. The first phase of PR2, initiated in 2007, has enabled the construction of 245.6 km of pavedroads between Fougamou and Mouila, and Leyou and Lastoursville, and a ramp between Ndendé and Lebamba.In addition to road improvements, made under the PR2, work will be made to rehabilitate the banks ofthe Ogooué river to facilitate river transport. The Ogooué is also a major focus for the transportation of petroleumproducts, freight and passengers between Port-Gentil and Lambaréné. Ultimately, the PR2 shouldimprove transport on 3300 km of waterways, including rivers and Ogooué Komo and lagoons and Banio Fernan Vaz.The Gabonese governments determination to build new infrastructure, with the help of developmentpartners, should improve significantly the national transportation system. The opening of access to major inlandcities will be critical to achieving the objective of the Government: to diversify the economy in future years (OxfordBusiness Group, 2012).4.3 Transport industry4.3.1 Road freight servicesDespite the unsatisfactory condition of the network, road transport remains the main mode of transport of goods andpeople in Gabon. Indeed, almost all products, manufactured goods, general merchandises, one-third of logs and 65%of travelers are transported by road. It also plays a central role in the multimodal transport system from or tomajor economic centers of the country (Banque Africaine de Développement, 2007).Road freight plays a crucial role in facilitating logistics services in Gabon. The structure of the road freight marketin Gabonese provinces is considerably fragmented with no one influence market player. In fact, the road transportmarket considerably consists of owner-operators. Even thought market competition almost does exist in Gabon’sroad freight sector, freight services tend to be rather casual and principally operate unregulated.Regarding road freight tariffs, there are no available road tariff data for Gabonese provinces, so it was difficult, todetermine diverse road freight tariffs. Road freight operators were not able to say how much they exactly chargecustomers and the amount charged by each of them for the same destination was different. The only information wewere able to determine on road transport tariff was from main shippers who complained about the high cost of roadtransport (World Bank’s 2009 Report).
  10. 10. 104.3.2 Railway freight servicesThe Gabonese railway has a railway network that crosses the country from east to west and linksFranceville, Lastoursville, Ndjolé,and Owendo. The freight traffic registered in 2006 was about 2.2 million tons. Thefreights are mainly composed of manganese (62.2%); logs (30.3%), general merchandise (5.4%), petroleumproducts (1.2%) and 1% Clinker. The line also includes the transfer of 200,000passengers.This network is managed by the SETRAG since 2005.The network size is not homogeneous; SETRAG has anetwork of 468 km lines (J. Eric Georges Yetongnon 2010). Organization of activitiesThe organization of the rail transport sector in Gabon is part of the policy of the Ministry of Transport which ownsthe power to define national policy on transport. In Gabonese rail transportation, there are two majoractivities: freight and passenger transportation. (J. Eric Georges Yetongnon, 2010). EquipmentSETRAG has increased investment in locomotives, wagons in 2008, compared to previous years. Only cars have notbeen renewed by the company (table 5). This can be explained by the increasing demand for cargo transportationcompared to the transport of passengers (Direction générale des statistiques (2010) (Table 6).Table 5: Railway equipments and staffsNetwork Units 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008Length of networks operated km 649 649 649 649 649Crossings 1 43 43 43 43 43MaterialLocomotives 1 29 29 29 29 34Wagons 1 810 822 812 812 813Cars 1 54 54 54 58 58Staff 1Number of employees 1294 1310 1291 1328 1313Source: Direction générale des statistiques (2010)Table 6: Commercial trafficUnits 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008Passenger and packageNumber of passengers carried 1 214370 218252 229816 215279 220210Courier packages tons 3093 3013 4116 4264 3958Transported cargos (ton) 1000 3456 3924 3966 4382Logs 843 796 771 767 699Clinker 31 22 27 36 39Fuel 37 45 43 51 48Material of stone-pit 1 4 11 16Manganese 2345 2842 2886 3290 3335Diverse 200 215 228 223 216Source: Direction générale des statistiques (2010) Wagon productivityWagon productivity is measured by the ratio between ton-km transported and the number of wagons, reflecting theproduction sold. To measure the output rail, we can proceed as otherwise by multiplying the weight of cars and theircontents by the distance traveled for ton km hauled gross. Currently, SETRAG is among the companies thathold a higher productivity of the wagons in Africa. This performance can be explained not only by theincreasing production but also by the fact that its main client (COMILOG) has its own wagons. The productivityof SETRAG’s wagons was 2214, against 726 for Cameroon (J. Eric Georges Yetongnon, 2010) (Table 7).Table 7: Evolution of the productivity of wagons (in thousands)
  11. 11. 11Companies Countries Productivity of wagonsCAMRAIL CAMEROUN 726GRC GHANA 367NRC NIGERIA 147OCBN BENIN - NIGER 403ONCF MAROC 755SETRAG GABON 2.214SITARAIL BURKINA - C.I. 604SNCFT TUNISIE 473SNTF ALGERIE 194Source: J. Eric Georges Yetongnon (2010) Density of freight trafficThe density of freight traffic is measured by the ratio between the tonnage transported (ton-km) andlength of lines (km). In Africa, the highest density is recorded by the SETRAG and Moroccos ONCF (Table 8).Table 8: Evolution of the cargo traffic densityAnnées CAMRAIL GRC NRC OCBN ONCF SETRAG SITARAIL SNCFT SNTF1995 582 304 39 641 563 2162 77 427 2021996 446 293 50 551 643 2099 394 433 2171997 638 293 193 669 675 2041 497 442 2181998 628 267 400 672 680 2192 645 450 2071999 451 293 398 626 w698 2125 645 315 1942000 837 320 82 273 w692 2248 601 390 1922001 915 426 87 288 731 2473 766 492 1932002 889 473 69 273 797 1793 921 512 2212003 900 469 24 264 844 2065 197 489 2032004 834 442 48 101 957 2444 763 542 1942005 865 458 65 74 1018 2706 1027 521 147Mean 726 367 132 403 754 2214 594 456 199Source: J. Eric Georges Yetongnon (2010) Analysis of global factors productivityThe analysis of global factors productivity is a key task for both managers and regulators of the transportsector. Productivity and a high efficiency means an advantage in terms of competitiveness, but theseissues remain a relatively unexplored area in Africa, especially in international comparisons.It is clear that SETRAG is among the companies that experienced managerial productivity gains and increasedproductivity in technical progress (4.5%) (J. Eric Georges Yetongnon 2010) (table 9).Table 9: Evolution of total factor productivity registered by African companiesCompanies Countries Efficiency change Technical progress Total factorsCAMRAIL CAMEROUN 0,951 1,072 1,019GRC GHANA 0,873 1,028 0,898NRC NIGERIA 0,886 1,034 0,919OCBN BENIN - NIGER 0,800 1,041 0,833ONCF MAROC 1,000 1,103 1,103SETRAG GABON 1,000 1,045 1,045SITARAIL BURKINA-C.I. 1,108 1,076 1,193SNCFT TUNISIE 0,967 1,103 1,067SNT ALGERIE 0,884 1,105 0,976Mean 0,937 1,067 1,000Source: J. Eric Georges Yetongnon (2010)
  12. 12. 12In conclusion, like other African countries, the Gabonese railways activity is dominated by rail freight traffic,which represents average 65% of the traffic unit, against 35% for passenger traffic. The analysis of productivityindices shown that the best productivities are recorded by the SETRAG,ONCF, and CAMRAIL. These results meanthat the market is opening management autonomy and contribute to improving business efficiency (J. Eric GeorgesYetongnon, 2010). Rail freight demand forecastAlthough its current situation, in ten years, SETRAG will face important challenges in meeting medium-termdemand for rail freight services on the rail section between the rest of Gabonese province and Libreville. Thesechallenges will be basically manifested by SETRAG’s capacity to overcome: (a) poor track conditions; (b)insufficient rolling stock and equipment and (c) optimal train operations, scheduling delays, poor rolling stock, and ageneral lack of hauling capacity to transport freight.By year 2025 both wood and mineral products will command the largest share of international traffic using theGabonese corridors. Should the forecasted forest products and mineral freight traffic materialize, it is unlikely thatthe existing line capacity of SETRAG railway (about 15 million tons) will be appropriate to convey the forecastedfreight demand.4.3.3 River and sea freight serviceThe river and sea transport is operated by several companies from the two seaports (Owendo and Port Gentil) andfrom at least twenty river ports, all managed by the Office of ports and harbors of Gabon (OPRAG). Indeed, in2003, the State conceded the management of the ports of Owendo and Port-Gentil to Sigeprag Company and alsoconceded the river transport management to the Inland Navigation Company (CNI), state structure. But thesecompanies not only suffer from the lack of operating equipment and competition from other sector operators whichserve the traffic between Libreville,Port-Gentil and Lambaréné. Some of these companies also operate maritimetraffic between Gabon and other countries of the West African coast. Large maritime traffic is mainly controlled bylarge multinationals companies. They provide goods traffic between Gabon and the rest of the world. Besidesthe freight traffic, some of these ships are also specialized in the transport of passengers, consumer goods andmaterials (Direction générale des statistiques, 2010).Although the commercial activities in the last five years in the two ports of Owendo and Port-Gentil have a little bitdropped, we can note that these two ports concentrate the most of Gabonese maritime traffic. Both Incoming andoutgoing products of in these ports are essentially composed of manganese, petrol, timber, construction equipment,agricultural products and consumer goods (Direction générale des statistiques, 2010) (Tables, 10, 11, 12, 13)Table 10: Flows of vessels in Owendo and Port-Gentil2004 2005 2006 2007 2008Number of incoming vessels 1340 1529 1493 1546 1401Number of vessels in out 1340 1529 1493 1546 1401Total flows 2680 3058 2986 3092 2802Source: Direction générale des statistiques (2010)Table 11: Flow of ships by types2004 2005 2006 2007 2008Container ship 212 334 330 382 414Car carriers 24 16 24 12 20reefers 24 10 0 6 4wine carrier 10 12 14 18 10Logging carrier 38 58 88 86 102Cargos 174 234 212 260 224Tankers 222 234 0 36 86Logging boats 318 404 420 346 392Ore carrier 150 162 162 170 150Oil carrier 972 958 986 914 830
  13. 13. 13Diverse 536 636 750 862 570Total flows 2680 3058 2986 3092 2802Source: Direction générale des statistiques (2010)Table 12: Traffic in the ports of Owendo2004 2005 2006 2007 2008Port of OwendoIncoming 556584 986546 1113233 1301236 1392319agricultural products 49377 95963 89650 99635 115407Food stuffs 94216 128361 186652 234077 236840Local consumer products 25168 35573 51838 71478 81684Equipment products 50984 93624 87412 101100 115768Energy products 223126 376884 374571 432198 392432Building materials 21848 107021 137471 176687 251496special transactions 91865 149120 185639 186061 198692Outgoing 2187506 3733082 4047153 4525956 4302932Agricultural and ForestryProducts7053 25211 23586 25232 28586Foods stuffs 3996 7324 5932 1732 4023Forestry Products 480965 658368 857034 928864 793086Local consumer products 2077 2154 3005 2835 3016Equipment products 8838 6182 3969 5236 4153Energy products 0 35 0 0 0Building materials 101086 141413 183296 208487 201519special transactions 1583491 2899719 2976263 3355302 3268549Source: Direction générale des statistiques (2010)Table 13: Traffic in the port of Port-Gentil2004 2005 2006 2007 2008Port of Port-GentilIncoming 71461 240001 216990 186605 218659agricultural products 9710 2362 22162 16873 2451Food stuffs 14702 20533Local consumer products 2352 7422 5016 4329 8606Equipment products 40870 84524 79479 79523 102789Energy products 6657 118579 79112 59912 58958Building materials 1451 5022 9674 4060 10631special transactions 10421 7391 21546 21909 14690Outgoing 4994181 879077 910113 1066818 967277Agricultural and ForestryProducts200670 0 0 0 0Foods stuffs 626 2230 4414 1022 360Forestry Products 353991 357426 391830 342749Local consumer products 336 374 1084 492 684Equipment products 5328 21692 6192 5778 4914Energy products 4743104 425260 462669 589609 545906Building materials 27800 37342 43414 46248 47754special transactions 16318 38188 34913 31840 24910Source: Direction générale des statistiques (2010)
  14. 14. 144.3.4 Ports of Owendo and Port-GentilThe past of Gabonese ports, as the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa, is recent; its infrastructures exhibit the beginning ofits participation in the international maritime life. With the development of traffic facilities, once used for handlinggoods (commercial wharves and jetties) have become obsolete. This failure to adapt to constraints relatedto international maritime trade requires the upgrading and construction of new infrastructure and adequatelyequipped. The latter consist of specialized platforms and adapted to the type of goods exported, hencethe juxtaposition of activities in the national "port complex”. Depending on the nature of the products used,commerce ports generally rub the timber terminals, terminals for diverse products, minerals terminals, fisheriesinfrastructure. Gabonese polyfunctional ports offer identical docks landscapes, warehouses, embankments, like thoseof other ports around Sub-Saharan Africa (Gisèle Makiela, 2007). Port facilities in GabonAs we have already mentioned, Libreville includes the port complex of Owendo with three ports, in addition tothe Mole port of Libreville reserved for fishing and coastal shipping. As in Libreville, the port facilities in Port-Gentil also consist of three facilities, in addition to private docks owned by various companies such as the oilterminal of Cape Lopez, that belongs toTotal-Elf Gabon and the SOGARA (Gabonese refining company) berth; themole of Elf and UIAE (Industrial Union for Equatorial Africa), the landing stage of the CFG (forestry company ofGabon); the dock of the SNBG (National wood company of Gabon). Port activity of Gabon is alsoorganized around the sites of lesser importance: Mayumba Cocobeach.The latter two shipping centers treat arelatively low level of traffic. Their main activity is limited to the export of logs. Given the conditions oftransport and log loading, they have no specialized technical equipment. Mayumba is located in southernGabon, 375 km south of Cape Lopez. Existing facilities consist of a jetty for tugs and for ferry landing for.Cocobeach is meanwhile in the north west of Gabon. It behaves like Mayumba, a dock for berthing tugs and canoes(Gisèle Makiela, 2007). Cargos HandlingThe different nature of the cargo in maritime transport also implies organizational methods of different handling. Infact, the nature of goods determines the equipment to handle cargo at ports. The loading and unloading ofships require specific port facilities. If the bulk involves systematically dedicated equipment, the two categories ofgeneral cargo (containerized and conventional), in return necessitate different techniques for their handling.General merchandises are goods that have underwent preconditioning before their shipment. In fact, generalmerchandises involve the use of different techniques and equipment according to their packaging (container orconventional):- The conventional: the technique of the sling;- Containers: the technique of the spreader;- The ferry: gateways and unloading equipment;The bulk, liquid or solid, are the goods transported on the ship (Gisèle Makiela, 2007). Ocean freight offer between Gabon and the rest of the worldAn analysis of ships that connect the coast of Gabon to the world defines the ocean routes. The actives corridorsconverge in a general manner to ports with sustained activity. In the case of coast of Africa, there is adomination of the Africa-Europe line for historical reasons. Three European centers dominate theGabonese maritime market and the sub-region in general. This mainly includesthe Naval Delmas / Nedlloy / Lloyd Triestino pole with 19 units, the EAC-Was/Dafra/Woermann pole with 11 unitsand the Hoegh / Scadoa / CNS / EA / DSR pole with 12 units, for a total of 42 ships (Gisèle Makiela, 2007).4.4 Constraints to Supply Chain Efficiency and Transportation Logistics4.4.1 Enabling environmentThe enabling environment plays a crucial role in corridor development especially regarding facilitation andgovernance, institutional arrangements, regulatory and legal framework, and indeed, public policy. The role ofgovernment in developing the Gabonese corridors derives from its public policy directive, Gabonese laws, andpriorities of national development. Furthermore, the Ministry of Transport also pursues efforts of regional
  15. 15. 15cooperation with neighboring countries counterparts. This institution provides a platform to address problemsrelated to infrastructure development in support of development and trade. Gabonese corridors development strategy:As shown above many opportunities are available at the local level through bilateral coordination and cooperationwith regional institutions to debate policy problems affecting Gabonese corridors. Concurrently, at the provinciallevel, meetings of governors offer the same engagement. Conducting Gabonese corridors development:Although the lack of a significant strategy for corridors development, another important issue is the lack of apleasant institutional structure with the directive to conduct, manage and promote Gabonese corridors as logisticscorridors. Trade Facilitation:Another area in which the enabling environment can improve Gabonese corridors logistics is trade facilitation.Examining customs documentation and inspecting import and export cargo is a major factor of the logistics chain.This process can contribute to important costs and delays in the movement of containers at the ports (Gisèle Makiela,2007).4.4.2 Road sectorThe first constraint to transport logistics in the road sector is the poor condition of the road network infrastructure.The negative effect of these logistics constraints is weaknesses arising from higher truck operating costs for roadfreight operators. Poor road surface condition:The road networks in Gabonese corridors are generally in bad conditions. The roads are inappropriately maintained.During a recent survey, the African Development Bank found that almost half of the total road was not in goodcondition. This situation in turn results in poor operating conditions for trucks (Banque Africaine de Développement,2007). High transport costs:The condition of the road network in Gabonese corridors continues to be inadequate and is main constraints totransport logistics in the corridor.4.4.3 Railway sectorThe railway sector logistics are constrained by many issues, among which encompass: (a) the physical infrastructure;(b) rolling stock and equipment; and (c) train operations. These constraints result in traffic diversion and low trafficvolume. Physical infrastructure:Poor condition of Gabonese corridors’ railway network, by which important sections of the network such asFranceville, Lastoursville, Ndjolé, and Owendo are restrained rail freight logistics. The poor condition of the trackhas reduced the speeds of the train. This has a direct impact on SETRAG railway network capacity. Rolling stock equipment:The insufficient rolling stock equipment also restrains SETRAG’s railway capacity to meet the freight trafficdemand. The insufficient equipment results in less freight (Marcadon ,1996,J. Eric Georges Yetongnon,2010).4.4.4 Ports of Owendo and Port-GentilAlthough the Ports of Owendo and Port-Gentil under the management of OPRAG have shown positive financialresults due to increased throughput over the past four years, the ports need to address a number of challenges tosustain their performance. Terminal handling charges:Gabonese ports’ terminal handling charges are high compared to some Sub-Saharan regions. Indeed, Owendo andPort-Gentil ports’ container handling charges are lower than the more efficient ports in South Africa. What appearsto be a driving containers cost at the Gabonese ports are extra charges such as scanning containers and weighing,storage time, and container dwell times. Each of these activities minimizes port productivity. Insufficient port equipment:
  16. 16. 16This is one of major components driving low port productivity at Gabonese ports. To solve this problem, theOwendo and Port-Gentil ports have taken to relying on ship’s gear to load and off load containers. Furthermore,while the use of ship’s gear might be a direct solution, it is not appropriate to address the operational requirements ofa modern port. Low productivity of container operations:Container moves per hour are a crucial performance indicator of the efficiency of a container terminal’s operations.The maximum the number of moves the more the better the performance. The average number of container movesper hour of 20 ports in sub-Saharan Africa is about 12 containers mover per hour with a standard deviation of 4.6.According to the World Bank, the best-in-class port should perform a rate of 20 moves per hour. Such results areequivalent to the low end of the range of 20 to 25 moves per hours that Asia, North American, and Western Europeports generate. By comparison, the Owendo and Port-Gentil ports containers’ averages moves is about 8 containersper hour, which is outside of the range of the ports in the World Bank study. Container dwell times:This is a crucial indicator of a port’s performance because it is related to productivity and throughput. Dwell timerefers to a number of days a container stays in the container terminal. Long dwell time minimize both portthroughput and productivity. During the interviews in August 2011 the Owendo and Port-Gentil ports’ customersdeclared that excessive container dwell times was one of the main issues they experienced in using the port. (GisèleMakiela, 2007).4.4.5 StakeholdersThe current transport logistic situation in the Gabonese ports corridors lures the need for the stakeholders also toplay a role in helping to overcome the current challenges the corridors face. The stakeholders of the Gabonese portscorridors that encompass freight forwarders, shipping and clearing agents, main shippers have not been properlyorganized as a stakeholder association to leverage their power to address the logistics pressures to the corridors. Trade Facilitation:This situation also extends to problems such as delays due to inspections of cargo and processing of customsdocumentation. Stakeholders have not taken benefice of their strengths to address the logistic issues they faceeveryday. Low port productivity:OPRAG has regularly underperformed regarding port productivity in terms of containers handling, especially whenmeasured against its peer group of ports in West Africa which average about 12 moves per crane hour compared toOPRAG’s 8 moves per crane hour. Information Management:Managing the flow of information (tracking cargo) are becoming increasing more in demand.This necessitate an information management systems able of tracking cargo through the whole supply process,preparing customs documentation, paying ocean freight fees, finalizing bills of lading, scheduling shipments,planning containing terminal works few weeks in advance,etc. The uses of cargo and transport logistics relatedinformation lack an integrated logistic information management system that could help better manage their logisticsrequisite (Gisèle Makiela, 2007).4.4.6 SETRAG railway infrastructure Investment programSETRAG operates the only railway in Gabon of 640 km long. This track is also used by Comilog, for conveying themanganese to the port of Owendo. SETRAG has recorded satisfactory results in 2006 due to the computerization ofits ticketing service, in order to efficiently manage the customers and minimize the waiting times. The company hastransported 681,192 tons of goods in 2011. In 2010, the turnover of the company was 34 billion CFA francs.More than 250 million CFA francs, is the money that SETRAG has invested to supply most of its stations(Doume ,Mbougou-Mbadouma, Moanda, Lastourville, Ayeme,Lopé ,and Ntoum) with solar energy.The Board of SETRAG said that its investments exceeded the financial commitment which it is required bythe operating contract with the Gabonese Government.
  17. 17. 17Over the last 5 years the company has indeed invested in maintenance and new equipment for an amount of 58billion CFA francs, of which 61% spent on track maintenance and 28% rolling stock. On September 30,2010, 40000 sleepers were installed and 20 km of track have been replaced, bringing to 210,000 the number ofsleepers laid and nearly 100 km length of track replaced since the beginning of the concession.As a result, delays on the road decreased by 60 km to 15 km in late 2005. In addition, SETRAG has concluded anagreement with the authorities for the release of the 2010-2013 periods of the amount of 10 billion CFAfrancs for the rehabilitation of structures. Finally, SETRAG has purchased new equipment and installations (JT 42brand) in 2011 to improve the safety and comfort of its trains. According to its chief executive Jean-François Coutin,SETRAG has bought two trains, 10 carriages, tracks and 60000 sleepers amounting to five billion CFA francs.The investment comes as part of plans to bolster the transport system in time for the recent 2012 African Cup ofNations football championship, which Gabon has co-hosted with Equatorial Guinea (International Union of Rail,2012).4.4.7 Gabonese corridors road sector investmentsThe road sector policy originally constitutes a basis for preparing the Intermodal Transport Master Plan (PDIT)1998-2015, which focused principally on the definition of the sector’s priorities and the formulation and launchingof the Road Network Development Programme (PARR) 2002-2012 that constitute the reference framework fordonor operations in the road sub-sector. The PARR aims to: open up Gabon from within to eliminate one of themain bottlenecks to the enhancement of the growth potential of production zones and rural areas; and open up thecountry to the region.The African Development Bank (ADB)’s participation in financing PARR is through a road programme, the phase 1(RP1) of which was approved in September 2007. Planned operations under the phase 2 of the road programme(RP2) are encompassed in the Road Network Development Programme. RP2 will contribute to opening up Gabonfrom within by linking diverse provincial headquarters. Moreover, the programme plan took into consideration theorientations of the Central African Consensual Transport Master Plan adopted in 2003.On 2007, the ADB has approved a USD 221.09 million loan to finance RP1, which mainly encompasses: thedevelopment of the Fougamou-Mouila (112.4 km), Léyou-Lastoursville (96 km) and Ndendé-Lebamba (37 km)roads; and the conduct of studies on the Mouila-Ndendé-Doussala, Ndendé-Tchibanga, RN1 (PK0-PK12) roads,and the Libreville expressway. To date, all road construction and design contracts under RP1 have been concededand are being executed..The construction of the Mouila-Doussala (Congo border) road section under RP2 will contribute to strengtheningregional integration. In fact, this road section is a crucial link of the Ndjamena-Yaoundé-Brazzaville corridor. Theobjective of the corridor is to connect Yaoundé, Libreville and Brazzaville. Sections of the road between Mbalmayoin Cameroon and Lambaréné in Gabon have already been constructed. The Lambaréné-Fougamou and Fougamou-Mouila sections are being built with financing from the Spanish Government and the African Development Bank(ADB). RP2 is consistent with the African Development Bank (ADB)’s Medium-Term Strategy (MTS 2008-2012)(ADB Road Programme-Phase II –RP2, 2011).4.4.8 Owendo and Port-Gentil ports infrastructure investmentsA vast array of planned capacity upgrades have been set in motion for the country’s existing ports, while newfacilities have been slated for construction in the provinces to better cater to increased output from the extractiveindustries.In recent years, traffic at Owendo ports has risen between 7% and 10% annually since 2009. Because 90% ofGabonese trade passes through maritime transport, it is important to upgrade the ports and the whole infrastructuresector to remain competitive globally.The creation of special economic zones and the expected growth in theGabonese trade balance provide opportunities to further develop the transport and logistics chain. To help ensure theports are capable to meet the increasing demand, a number of projects have been launched to help expand capacityand improve efficiency and are moving ahead despite a recent strike.
  18. 18. 18This has started with the Gabon’s existing facilities, which have been overhauled in recent years. In 2003, thegovernment conceded a 25 year management concession to Portek International, which was recently bought out byJapanese conglomerate Mitsui Group, for both Owendo and Port-Gentil (Oxford Business Group, 2012).In 2007, the “Société des Terminaux de Conteneurs du Gabon”, a consortium between French companiesGetma/Necotrans and Bolloré, invested about 12.3 billion CFA in Owendo to build and manage a new containerterminal, which opened in 2009.A further investment of about 40 billion CFA is planned to build a fourth quay atthe port by 2013. Overall, the aim is to enhance capacity at Owendo by an estimated 400% by 2015, while boostingthe rate at which containers can be filled by up to 75% (Oxford Business Group, 2012).Announced in March 2012, the two new cranes (50 meters tall and can lift 100 tons) of the port of Owendo wereofficially commissioned on April 23. The cost of these equipments was 5 billion CFA francs. The cranes will help tospeed the loading and unloading of ships at the ports of Owendo (Thus, from 8 to 10 movements per hourper ship, the ports will rise to 30 or 40 movements per hour per ship, with a gain of 36 hours.). These cranes, madein Germany, were acquired by Gabon Port Management, co manager of the port with the OPRAG. According toPhilippe Gery (General Director of Gabon Port Management), the waiting times was estimated to be almost fourdays per ship. Hence, the ports were achieving only eight movements per hour, per ship, on average. With the newcranes, the Ports will reach 30 movements per hour, per ship, and hence minimize the waiting time of four days toless than one. This will allow the port infrastructure to quadruple its productivity and, therefore, be much morecompetitive in the sub region (Gabonreview, 2012; Oxford Business Group, 2012).5. ConclusionsThe objective and purpose of this evaluation were to: carry out studies and build enabling environment strategyplans based on all the findings; and suggest a plan for enhancing investment to ameliorate efficiencies. This partpresents the conclusions arising from the evaluation findings above. The conclusions are derived from theexamination of the constraints to transport logistics in the Gabonese corridors, as well as over interviews conductedin Gabon from August 10th to August 30th, 2011 with the key stakeholders across the whole supply chain andtransport logistics.The suggestions introduced below addresses: the enabling environment and reforms that are necessary for publicinstitutions to have a direct role in stimulating corridors efficiency; the infrastructure and functional constraints tothe efficient operating of the supply chain and transport logistics efficiency in the Gabonese corridors; theemergency for better stakeholder coordination to address corridors efficiency problems, encompassing logisticscosts. But, it is important to note that more detailed studies are required to correctly determine the viability of thesuggestions being recommended and, to more accurately define the development costs, and diagnose the financial,economic and commercial advantages to the stakeholders. In developing the suggestions for this evaluation weexamined the following components: stakeholder ownership; utility and efficiency of the suggestion to improveGabonese logistics efficiency; elimination of constraints to efficient transport logistics services; potential for privateand public sector collaborationFuture studies could focus on corridor efficiency monitoring indicators which encompasses measurements of costand time, but which cost and time vary from one corridor to another.
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