ECS Group expands in Africa

The French cargo sales and service agent sees considerable growth opportunities in parts of Africa. The Kingdom of Morocco serves as a springboard for its planned market penetration. There, it has just taken over the leading local GSA, EFIS Maroc (100%). EFIS is represented at all major airports in the country and has built up a leading position over the years, particularly in air freight. CargoForwarder Global (CFG) spoke to Adrien Thominet (AT), CEO of ECS Group.

Adrien Thominet is heading the ECS Group – picture: company courtesy

Adrien Thominet (AT), CEO of ECS Group, does not want to reveal any financial matters. It therefore remains unclear how much his company paid for the acquisition of the Moroccan company. Both companies have been working closely together since 2001, with EFIS acting as a sub-agent for ECS in Morocco. Based in Marrakesh, the GSA is strategically well positioned since it covers all major Moroccan airports such as Casablanca, Agadir, and Tangier, providing extensive commercial coverage to its customers.

Leading market position
It is not just because of this broad presence in the northwest African country that ECS gains a dominant market position, but especially because EFIS Maroc is the only local agent there that is fully focused on the air freight business. Others offer cargo services en passant, as subdivisions of forwarding agents.

EFIS Maroc Chief Pierre Fougerouse knows all facets of the GSSA business  – image: Pierre Fougerouse, Linkedin

Pierre Fougerouse, Founder of EFIS MAROC, stated: “Our journey began with ECS Group’s support in 2001, and after becoming self-owned in 2003, merging into ECS Group now feels like a fitting evolution of our partnership. I am also pleased to welcome Bouazza El Hantiti as Managing Director, bringing valuable experience from North Africa and Europe to enhance network synergies between Morocco and ECS Group’s European representations.”

CFG: So, does the acquisition of EFIS Maroc give ECS a monopoly position in the country?

AT: No, because there are other players out there. But our position is very strong. Especially because EFIS MAROC has emerged as the market leader in commercial air cargo services, uniquely positioned as the region’s sole GSA with substantial air freight experience and a loyal customer base. Others have multi-functions, so are less focused on air freight matters.

CFG: What are the main products exported by the Moroccan economy, that will play a significant role in ECS’s cargo business?

AT: These are of course perishables, but increasingly also electronic goods, automotive parts, and components for the aviation industry. Economic development is progressing rapidly, which is illustrated by the establishment of industrial companies. In addition, and this should not be concealed for reasons of piety, human remains are an important factor for air freight.

CFG: What distinguishes Morocco from the situation in some of the neighboring countries?

AT: Morocco stands out due to its economic expansion. It’s a country with a young and highly dynamic population. Consequently, it offers fertile ground for rich and promising partnerships. With its vibrant energy and potential, Morocco presents an enticing prospect for long-term economic growth.

CFG: Is aviation also a beneficial factor?

AT: Absolutely. Royal Air Maroc, for which we have a GSA mandate in some markets, has an outstanding position, which also applies to its air freight business. According to our analyses, the country will successively develop into a hub for air traffic. This also applies to international and intercontinental connections.

Outsourcing tasks
Monsieur Thominet further emphasizes that part of his company’s diversification strategy is to outsource some tasks by transferring them to Morocco. These include administrative responsibilities, invoice controlling or customs issues. Due to the favorable framework conditions, the country will act as a springboard for ECS Group to penetrate other African sub-markets. In this context, the executive mentions the Ivory Coast and Senegal, i.e. countries in West and Central Africa. “Now that we have become the market leader in Morocco, thanks to the acquisition of EFIS, we intend to become active in the neighboring regions as well. This will take time, but our analyses show that it offers good growth prospects,” he reasons.

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