If your sales contract for exporting goods to Egypt is on “D”-terms, organizing of on-forwarding of the shipment from the port of discharge to a said place of delivery is in your responsibility. Philipp Küffner, Deputy Branch Manager in Bremen, put together some insights into the Egyptian trucking business which might be useful for you.
A man – a truck – a cell phone
Trucking is by far the most common mode for inland transportation of goods in Egypt. Still, there are hardly any trucking companies with fixed drivers, fleets of their own and set offices. Trucking business rather follows the motto: one man, one truck, one cell-phone. It often is a one-family-business. The vehicle is the single asset and basis of the family business. It is not uncommon that the entire family travels along in the driver’s cabin. In most cases, truckers can be reached via cell phone, only.
You have to know the trucker personally to get an idea of his possibilities and abilities.
As trucking business in Egypt is extremely different from those in many other parts of the world, therefore knowing and selecting the right person for a transport is very important. “You have to know the trucker personally to get an idea of his possibilities and abilities”, says Philipp Küffner, Deputy Branch Manager in our office in Bremen. Working for our company, he used to live in Egypt for several years. “For regular shipments, we generally appoint the same trucker. That makes loading and unloading operations more efficient because the trucker is already familiar with the facilities and processes at the place of delivery.”
Keeping an eye on costs: Detention-free time
Time is an important parameter when planning an on-carriage via truck in Egypt. As soon as the vessel has berthed in the port, ‘clocks start ticking’ for example in regard to detention. Detention is a penalty fee for belated return of a container to carrier’s custody. Detention-free time is the timespan one is allowed between pick-up of the container and return of the empty container to the carrier without having to pay a fee.
A long enough detention-free time is important if goods are to be on-forwarded in Egypt. One reason is that on-carriage by truck always involves a round trip. That means the container has to be brought back to the port, after having been discharged at consignee's. That takes time, because frequently there are hundreds of kilometers between port and place of delivery.
Background to this procedure is the lack of inland container depots in Egypt. As truckers feared for unpaid “empty” trips and went on strike, plans to install inland container depots were abandoned.
Thus, precise pre-planning, choosing the suitable trucker and a long enough detention-free time are the key for an efficient on-carriage by truck in Egypt.