Awards Honour and Celebrate The Supply Chain Profession in Africa

Nicola Stewart, Cynthia Nkosi, Glynis Jordan, Terrence Martin and Nicholas Somerai from CEVA Logistics, with Africa Supply Chain Excellence Awards director Liesl de Wet
James van Zyl from NCT and Liesl de Wet

The winners of the second annual Africa Supply Chain Excellence Awards were announced at a gala event in Johannesburg attended by more than 220 supply chain practitioners from across the continent. These awards recognise the vital role played by the supply chain management profession, and honour and celebrate the outstanding achievements of organisations and individuals working in the field in Africa.

There was an overwhelming response to the awards this year, with 92 entries received from 26 countries around Africa, according to the organisers. Launched last year as a collaboration between leading industry organisations, the awards enable industry cooperation and knowledge sharing, in addition to promoting excellence in supply chain management. They also aim to drive awareness of the growing imperative to “green” supply chains and ensure that all supply chain components – from sourcing and procurement to distribution – are genuinely sustainable and environmentally responsible.


Getting vital food and aid to desperate communities

CEVA Logistics, this year’s winner of the award for the “Most Innovative Supply Chain Project”, overcame the challenges of getting vital food and aid to desperate communities in Niger, where one third of the population of 18 million is facing food insecurities. The logistics of getting food from Togo’s Lome port to this landlocked county is difficult. The situation was significantly exacerbated by the continued Jihadists attack in the Burkina Faso red zone. The standard route from Lome to Niger’s Niamey passes through this red zone. When CEVA Logistics embarked on its first contract for a high-profile international aid agency, the attacks were at their peak. The organisation developed a new route and worked closely with the customs of Togo and Benin to push through a complex customs reform that established a new customs process and customs code at the check points that overrides Africa Third Country Law. This was not a simple re-routing of cargo where one route is taken as opposed to another route. Since the new route was established, others now use it on regular basis, the Africa Supply Chain Excellence Awards judges noted.

Commenting on the award, CEVA Logistics regional managing director for Middle East and Africa, Guillaume Sauzedde, said: “The logistics and supply chain industry plays a critical role in keeping economies running, but some projects go further by supporting vulnerable populations that are the foundation of those economies. At the Africa Supply Chain Excellence Awards, we wanted to highlight the logistics support for an international aid and relief agency in West Africa, where we helped change the status quo and find better ways to deliver aid supplies despite challenging conditions. A foundational element for us as a company is ‘acting for people,’ so this was not just a matter of logistics - human lives were dependent on that aid. We are honoured to have received this award as a validation of our commitment to using logistics for good.”


Solar technology on refrigerated trucks

The winner of the “Supply Chain Environmental Sustainability” Award was Vector Logistics, for a solar vehicle project. Using solar technology on refrigerated trucks reduces fossil fuel reliance, cuts carbon emissions and protects the environment. Vector Logistics first embarked on a two-year trial project on eight-ton rigid vehicles. The trial results confirmed that a 25% solar energy contribution and 75% grid energy supply could run the fridge and tail lift continuously over 12 hours, without using diesel.  Saving 3.52 litres of diesel per hour resulted in an average monthly CO2 reduction of 2.4 tons per vehicle. Vector implemented four additional solar units on 14-ton rigid vehicles. The benefits achieved through solar on five rigid vehicles since December 2022 are more than R1 million in fuel savings, a CO2 reduction of 89 tons, less noise pollution and truck idling.


Strengthening healthcare supply chains

Non-governmental organisation Reach Out Cameroon won the “Responsible Sourcing and Procurement” Award at the 2023 Africa Supply Chain Excellence Awards for their work in strengthening healthcare supply chains in regions that have been impacted by ongoing political crises since 2016. The turmoil has resulted in poverty, poor communication networks, failing road infrastructure, violence and crimes like kidnapping.  Supply chain delays and poor inventory management is compromising healthcare.  By building the capacity and skills of community health workers, including providing inventory management tools and equipment to properly store medicine to ensure its quality, Reach Out Cameroon is saving lives.


Optimising the trans-modal movement of coal

This year’s “Supply Chain Digital Transformation” Award was presented to The Logistics Group (TLG) and Forte for a digital twin project that optimised the trans-modal movement of more than 900 thousand tons of coal annually from Phalaborwa to the Port of Maputo, Mozambique. To create the digital twin, five different software applications were integrated. The result is complete transparency on stock variances with improvements in the ratio for stock shortages based on loading versus offloading weight, due to real-time stock visibility. For the first time, actual track and trace visibility of the movement of stock on rail locomotives and wagons has been achieved.


Skills development in the rail sector

Traxtion won the “Excellence in Transport” Award for its contribution to skills development in the rail sector. The organisation has trained more than 700 drivers and 75 red seal technicians, conducts an average of 700 training interventions annually, and has a training footprint in eight African countries.

The winner of this year’s “Supply Chain Reengineering” Award was Union Coating Egypt. A reengineered and transformed supply chain enabled the business to cut lead times from 15 days to 24 hours, to increase on time in full deliveries from 40% to 70%, and to raise sales volumes by 30%.

Top honours in the category for “Excellence in Supply Chain Education and Youth Programmes” went to Multimix Academy in Nigeria.


Reducing carbon emissions and enhancing road safety

This year, the “Judges’ Choice” Award was presented to NCT Vryheid Road to Rail Logistics, which, through lengthy negotiations with Transnet, successfully opened the NCT Road-to-Rail transhipping and procurement depot facility within the Vryheid East marshalling yard. Suppliers in the catchment area are saving up to R70 per ton, compared with the road to Richards Bay option. An 80-ton weighbridge was installed with the permission of the KZN Department of Transport, which allows NCT to accept PBS (Performance Based Standards) vehicles. Delivery specifications, stock management and truck scheduling systems are the same as at chip mills in Richards Bay. In addition to saving money, the project is saving the environment. Solar panels and gel batteries power the weighbridge, lighting and the electric fence. At 80 000 tons per annum throughput, NCT’s facility has removed 2 350 trips per annum between Vryheid and Richards Bay. The benefits are less congestion on the road and improved road safety as well as a 1 552-ton reduction in CO2 emissions a year.

The organisations that partnered to present the 2023 Africa Supply Chain Excellence Awards were the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport South Africa (CILTSA), Logis-T Africa, the Road Freight Association (RFA), South African Express Parcel Association (SAEPA), SAPICS (The Professional Body for Supply Chain Management), the South African Association for Freight Forwarders (SAAFF), Transport Forum and Smart Procurement World. This year’s awards programme was sponsored by CEVA Logistics, DP World, Vericon, the RFA, SAAFF and SAEPA.

At the gala dinner, the volunteer judges were thanked for investing so much of their time to champion supply chain excellence in Africa. This year’s judges were Garry Marshall (head judge), Martin Bailey (CILTSA), David Crewe-Brown (SAPICS), Dean Gielink (SAEPA), Mike Johnston (Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals), Gavin Kelly (RFA), Dr Juanita Maree (SAAFF), Thobekilo Nxumalo, Leon Raath and Clayton Thomas (Southern African Institute for Industrial Engineering).



  1. Nicola Stewart, Cynthia Nkosi, Glynis Jordan, Terrence Martin and Nicholas Somerai from CEVA Logistics, with Africa Supply Chain Excellence Awards director Liesl de Wet.
  2. James van Zyl from NCT and Liesl de Wet


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About the Africa Supply Chain Excellence Awards: By the Industry, For the Industry

The Africa Supply Chain Excellence Awards (ASCEA) celebrate organisations and individuals excelling in Supply Chain Management in Africa.

The organisations and individuals who work throughout the supply chain profession have a unique view on what makes the world go around. Managing a supply chain is so much more than moving goods. Supply chain management plays a critical, complex role within any organisation, to ensure its success and relevance in this volatile world we live in.

The Africa Supply Chain Excellence Awards has been set up as a not-for-profit entity.  Funds raised by the Awards and associated events go towards the creation of sustainable bursary opportunities for worthy individuals looking for supply chain education opportunities.