Grindrod J&J Logistics takes over Uniroute

Feb 14, 2005
Author: P&S

High-flying Grindrod Group revealed last week that it had taken over the extensive Uniroute Logistics properties in Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town.

The properties, totalling approximately 220,000 sq mt in extent, comprise container depot yards, warehouses and transit facilities, and are all strategically close to container ports including the inland port of City Deep. The deal significantly expands Grindrod J&J Logistics operations in the three centres and will be used to service existing customers as well as provide opportunities for expansion into new business with new customers.

According to Laurence Stuart-Hill, Grindrod J&J’s chief executive, Uniroute was looking to cease operations. “This gave us the opportunity to expand our warehouse capabilities overnight,” he said.

According to trade gossip Uniroute was a candidate for liquidation before the Grindrod deal came along. The company had opened in 2000 with several prominent businessmen having been headhunted to run the operations on behalf of the Newlyn Group, which in turn is under the control of the Balmakhun Family Trust. The latter had access to valuable strategic warehousing including much that was formerly occupied by the Spoornet CX and PX divisions.

It wasn’t long however before some of the senior personnel in the new company had parted company, leading to whispers that all was not well with Uniroute Logistics.

Grindrod J&J announced it would make every effort to employ as many of Uniroute’s staff as possible as well as continue to provide facilities and services to Uniroute’s current customer base.

“We have not bought Uniroute Logistics (Pty) Ltd and therefore have no liability for its staff, creditors and customer claims. However Grindrod J&J Logistics will seek to assist customers who are currently in the facilities and current service providers in establishing new business relationships with Grindrod J&J Logistics,” said Stuart-Hill.

According to Sivi Gounden, a director of Grindrod J&J, the deal was tremendously exciting because it gave Grindrod J&J substantial warehousing capability in Johannesburg.

“We aim to expand not only in the warehousing arena but in all aspects of logistics. We look forward to announcing other expansion initiatives shortly,” he said.

Ivan Clark, MD of Grindrod said late last year that the group intended investing up to R1 Billion on landside operations to balance the company’s ship business.



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