UTi Worldwide

Fighting fire with fire - and passion.

UTi Worldwide is a freight forwarder that is headquartered in the USA, with 313 offices and 245 logistics centres in 59 countries. Their relationship with Safmarine goes back 30 years, with 62 per cent of global volumes controlled in Johannesburg, South Africa.

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Dave Hand (Client Services Manager, Air and Ocean Imports, UTI South Africa) and Lizanne Ferreira (Key Account Manager, Safmarine Southern Africa)

Safmarine’s Lizanne Ferreira (Key Account Manager) and Sidney Kganakga (Customer Experience Partner) are the onsite key account team at UTi Worldwide in South Africa. They handle day-to-day operations from UTi Worldwide’s office in Johannesburg. This onsite team has been in place for seven years.

“I’m proud to say that Sidney and I have a very big impact on the global relationship,” beams Lizanne.

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Lizanne, Sidney Kganakga (Customer Experience Partner, Safmarine Southern Africa) and Adell van Vollenhoven (Business Support Ocean Freight Forwarding, Africa and Middle East Region, UTI Worldwide)

Lizanne and Sidney invest much of their time nurturing the partnership with UTi Worldwide. This is an attribute that Adell van Vollenhoven (Business Support Ocean Freight Forwarding, Africa and Middle East Region, UTi South Africa) values. “The big word here is partnership. Lizanne and Sid are not here just to provide a service; they offer a partnership,” she says.

In addition to working together with UTi Worldwide to identify new business opportunities, Adell appreciates the team’s proactive approach to finding solutions to challenges.

“The Far East is such a dynamic market, and it can easily spin out of control during the peak season,” says Adell. “The manner in which Safmarine helps ensure we have stability in services during these troubled periods, has worked for us.”

According to Lizanne, it’s Sidney’s years of shipping experience and his quick response that puts the customer’s mind at rest. “Sidney is my absolute hero. I’d be lost without him. He is Mr. Firefighter himself,” she smiles. “The more chaos you give Sidney, the more he thrives. He’s always fired up and passionate about shipping. Sidney knows how to sort out any situation.”

Dave Hand is UTi Worldwide’s Client Services Manager, Air and Ocean Imports in South Africa and relies on Sidney’s proactive firefighting skills.

“It’s important having someone who asks the right questions, so we can quickly work out a solution together,” says Dave. “And the added bonus of having the Safmarine team onsite means that issues are resolved much faster.”

Such a situation arose recently when Dave’s client needed a change of destination from Port Durban, which was complicated by a range of factors.

“Sidney came with different scenarios before I even had the chance to ask the ‘what ifs’. He had it all ready. And that was on Friday afternoon at 4:30pm!” According to Dave, these situations are not uncommon, and are referred to by the team as ‘Friday afternoon specials’.

“I believe that’s the real difference between Safmarine and any other carrier,” continues Dave. “Everyone else shuts down at 4:00pm on a Friday afternoon, but business is still happening in Brazil and the USA. I can go and see Sidney at 5:00pm on a Friday and know that I can get help right away.”

It’s not just Safmarine’s expertise in the Southern African market that is proving invaluable to UTi Worldwide. With direct trade moving from the Far East into other African regions, there’s scope for more joint opportunities, and Safmarine is all set to support UTi Worldwide’s ambitions in this space.

“Our footprint in retail is very strong, and we want to continue building on that,” explains Adell. “There are plenty of opportunities for retail into sub-Sahara Africa that are opening up and we’ve already partnered with Safmarine in that area. So we’re looking forward to that.”

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