Earlier this month the Shamrock team attended the 5th ICIS African Base Oils & Lubricants Conference held in Dar es Salaam in Tanzania.
The African market is key for us and we are already very active in base oil distribution. However, we are aware of the huge, untapped opportunities present for both existing and new industry players.
The Conference focused on particularly East and West Africa. The East African region is especially developing at a rapid pace and is experiencing growth in infrastructure development, construction, mining, exploration, manufacturing and the traditional agriculture sector. However, there remain key challenges and risk factors that need to be mitigated. Among those are imports into the market of non-conforming raw material and finished lubricants – mainly from the UAE, recycled base oils and fake finished lubricants, corruption, tax evasion and a high cost of production.
The Conference discussed many of these issues and there was even an individual focus on Nigeria, which is experiencing a particularly challenging development environment: plummeting oil prices, a recent resurgence of violence and high unemployment and poverty rates. Manufacturers based here are experiencing high operating costs, a scarcity of foreign exchange, low capacity utilisation and a drastic drop in profit margins.
Despite the numerous challenges and obstacles in doing business in Africa, we continue to assist customers in their business development, offering them base oils of good and sustainable quality and facilitating the logistics and financial constraints by delivering products by flexitank.
Overall, attending this Conference is a great way to meet many of our existing partners in person, and further strengthen our relations. Furthermore, it allows us to share with other participants our vision of lubricant market from a global perspective.
We will continue to use insights gained from the Conference to improve our service to our customers.