The idea for the creation of the Africa Logistics Network (ALN) originated from the conviction that the 21st century belongs to Africa and the founders wanted ALN to be the key freight forwarder network of the new century for the continent. Founded in 2015 by Alessandro Saponaro, ALN is meant to transform the African continent into a network open to worldwide members. From 2019, ALN is led by Saponaro’s son Marcello Saponaro, who is also the CEO of Logimar, a very important founder Member of ALN. Marcello Saponaro, chairman of ALN, speaks to Logistics Update Africa about the future of ALN and the importance of the African continent in global trade and commerce.

It’s been six years since the founding of Africa Logistics Network (ALN) and in 2019 you took charge of ALN from your father, can you identify the most significant developments in the life of ALN?
I founded ALN with my father as ALN started as a “brand” of Logimar, the freight forwarding company, of which I am the CEO since 2010. Nothing has substantially changed as the main features were already agreed right at the time of founding. And last but not least, my father is still involved in ALN management.

How did the pandemic affect the businesses of ALN members and what did ALN do to support its members through the last 21 months?
It’s been a tough time for everybody and for every freight forwarder in the world. We are in Italy, in Bergamo, probably one of the most affected cities in the world by Covid. We organized two virtual meeting, one in 2020 and the second one in October this year. They were completely free of charges for our members. One day of conference with guests and with the Awards ceremony by Vimeo and one week of one-to-one meetings. Those virtual meetings were our gift to our members. I think no other network organized something like this for free.

I don’t see any chance for other continents to continue the same growth they had in the past decades. Now it’s time for Africa with a more efficient internal market and also a more qualified and fair trade with Europe, Americas and Asia.

Marcello Saponaro, chairman of ALN

Collaboration is clearly the foundation for networks like ALN; how are you keeping ALN connected for businesses with similar networks and organisations in other countries and regions?
Collaboration is daily with other networks. For example, few days ago I founded Freight Recovery & Arbitration Chamber (FR&AC) along with an Italian law firm. I am trying to involve all the important networks as partners in FR&AC and their CEOs as arbitrators. You can find more information about it at https://www.

Do you have any focus areas or markets that you help your customers to develop and increase their reach each year? Let us say, business with China or with Europe?
Africa, obviously. No other network in the world can claim to have reliable members covering almost the entire continent.

Can you briefly explain the criteria for admitting members into ALN? How much do they need to pay for the membership and how long do they remain as members once joined?
Criteria are based on quality of the aspiring members, reliability and professionalism. We check carefully any new member on the web, in the debts recovery data base, writing to three of their agents in other continents and often asking our current members to find information about them. With regard to membership fee, coverage and protection plan, I prefer to invite our readers to visit ALN website at www.

How many members do you have as of now and do you have all countries of the African continent represented in ALN?
ALN members are 240 covering 140 Countries all over the world but the most important ones, are the 80 African members because they are the reason of our network, to be able to reach any place in Africa.

Why should one consider joining ALN and not any other similar organisation?
Because this is the only network for small and medium companies to survive and to grow. Our business is always more containerized, standardized, digitalized. No way for the small and medium companies to be competitive in the easy jobs. We have to be the best in the more skilled business –in Africa, in project cargo. These two are very big niches.

How strongly do you believe in the fact that Africa is rising?
I don’t see any chance for other continents to continue the same growth they had in the past decades. Now it’s time for Africa with a more efficient internal market and also a more qualified and fair trade with Europe, Americas and Asia.

What was the biggest learning for you and for ALN from the global pandemic?
United we stand, divided we fall, that’s the most important learning from the pandemic. And this is the reason the governments of the world should do much more for vaccinations in Africa.

How can forwarders interested to join ALN contact you?
Writing to me directly to my email

This interview was originally published in Logistics Update Africa' November - December 2021 issue.

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