Jodphur Business Ventures Ltd. (JBV) – Nigeria

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Interview with

Mr. John Odunewu
Managing Director / CEO

John Odunewu

John, first of all, great to have met you in Ghana last week!  Now for our readers, what can you tell us about the history of Jodphur Business Ventures Ltd. (JBV)?

Thank you for having me, and it was indeed a pleasure meeting you in Ghana last week. To give some background on JBV, our company has a rich history rooted in the Logistics and Maritime sector of the Nigerian market. Having initially joined Maersk as a MISE trainee in 2005, I worked (and attended multiple trainings) with Maersk in various countries (Nigeria, India, South Africa, Denmark, UAE, Ghana, etc.). These international experiences opened my eyes to what was missing in the Nigerian market and the value that a medium sized logistics company like JBV can provide ensuring our customers and partners enjoy as close to international standards as possible in the logistics and maritime sector of the Nigeria market. Hence JBV was founded by my humble self with a vision to revolutionize logistics in Nigeria, becoming the premier provider of seamless, all round logistics solutions that enhance efficiency for our customers and help grow their business. JBV has steadily grown and evolved into a leading player in the logistics sector in Nigeria.

Our journey began with humble beginnings, starting as a small de-consolidator for air cargo at Lagos airport. Through dedication, hard work, and a commitment to excellence, we quickly gained recognition for our key differentiators and value proposition (in quality, innovation, and customer service). This early success laid the foundation for expansion and diversification.

Over the years, JBV has navigated through various economic climates and market shifts, always staying true to our core values of customer focus, integrity and teamwork. We’ve adapted to changing technologies, embraced new opportunities, and forged strategic partnerships to enhance our offerings and better serve our clients.

Today, JBV stands as a testament to our resilience and forward-thinking approach. With a strong presence across all the major seaports and airports in Nigeria (Apapa, Tincan, Lekki, Onne, Port Harcourt, Calabar, etc.) we continue to innovate and set new standards in the logistics business. Our team of dedicated professionals remains committed to delivering exceptional solutions and exceeding customer expectations.

Looking ahead, we are excited about the future possibilities and confident in our ability to continue driving growth and making a positive impact in the logistics space in Nigeria.

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You are into logistics in Nigeria, a very populous country in Africa. Tell our readers about some of the problems that you face with regards to logistics in your country?  I understand that recently several new ports have been completed.

Absolutely. Nigeria, being the most populous country in Africa, presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities in the logistics sector.

Indeed, operating in Nigeria’s logistics landscape comes with its own set of challenges, albeit alongside exciting developments such as the completion of the Lekki port which has significantly increased total handling capacity across all the terminals in Nigeria.

One of the primary issues we face is the inadequate transportation infrastructure, including road networks, which can lead to delays and inefficiencies in cargo movement. However, with proper planning and coordination we not only move regular cargoes and containers, but we safely move heavy project cargos of various weights and dimensions from the ports to the final destinations (be it within Nigeria or in some of the neighboring land-locked countries such as Niger Republic, Chad, etc.). Testimonials from some of our customers confirm this.

Furthermore, navigating the complex regulatory environment and bureaucratic processes associated with customs clearance and documentation poses significant hurdles for logistics companies. This often results in lengthy clearance times, increased costs, and administrative burdens. With our experienced in-house customs brokers at JBV, some of whom have decades of experience when it comes to documentation and government policy interpretation and execution in customs clearance procedure, we provide our customers and partners with guidance and help them in preparing the documents for their shipments (be it temporary importation, Free Zone shipment, duty and tax exempted shipment or not) from planning stages up to execution stages, ensuring that we bring all our years of experience to bear such that clearance timeline is kept at the barest minimum avoiding unnecessary costs and delays.  

Another key challenge is the prevalence of security concerns, particularly in certain regions within the country, which can sometimes pose risks to cargo and personnel safety. At JBV, addressing these security risks requires implementing robust security measures and risk management protocols to safeguard shipments and ensure smooth operations which are incorporated into our operating procedures.

In summary, while Nigeria’s logistics sector faces several challenges, including infrastructure limitations, regulatory complexities, security risks, and technological gaps, there are also opportunities for growth and innovation within it. These opportunities are the key focus that drive us at JBV to continuously address these challenges proactively and leverage emerging trends, so we’re able to deliver value to our clients and partners all the time.

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There are several logistics providers in Nigeria. What makes you stand out, and why do you feel that you are the right company to go to?

Indeed, the logistics landscape in Nigeria is highly competitive. However, JBV set out with the intention to embrace innovation with unwavering commitment to excellence, innovation, and, putting at the core of our heart, the creation of value for our clients.

Local intelligence is one of our key differentiating factors. We have invested significant time and resources in building strong relationships with local stakeholders, including regulatory bodies, customs officials, and transportation partners. Our thoroughbred understanding has enabled us to navigate the complexities of the Nigerian logistics landscape seamlessly, and we have been able to provide tailored solutions that go beyond our clients’ expectations. 

Moreover, at JBV our relentless focus around innovation has made us a viable partner of choice within the industry, through leveraging cutting-edge technologies and best practices to optimize our operations, enhance efficiency, and provide real-time visibility into shipments. Whether it’s implementing AI-driven route optimization algorithms or deploying blockchain solutions for transparent supply chain management, we are constantly pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in logistics within the Nigerian / West Africa context. 

Furthermore, our customer-centric approach sets us apart as the preferred choice for businesses seeking reliable and responsive logistics services. We understand that every client is unique, and we go above and beyond to deliver personalized solutions that exceed expectations. Our dedicated team of professionals are committed to providing exceptional services and support at every step of the logistics journey.

Ultimately, at JBV we know that our combination of ‘glocal’ expertise, technological innovation, and customer centricity makes us the right company to partner with for all logistics needs in Nigeria. We are confident that by engaging JBV, our partners and clients can expect nothing less than professionalism, thoroughbred expertise, reliability, insight, and a true strategic partnership that always showcases how excellent we are.

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Can you tell our readers about the ports of your country, mainly used for the import and export trade? 

There are 7 main ports in Nigeria used for import and export trades:

  1. Apapa Port – located in Lagos. It is still regarded as the busiest port in Nigeria and handles a significant portion of the import and export trade in Nigeria. It has a dedicated container terminal operated by APM Terminals and 2 bulk and general cargo terminals which handle a major portion of breakbulk and project cargoes coming to the western part of Nigeria.
  2. Tincan Island Port – located about 5 kilometers away from Apapa port. Physically smaller in size to Apapa port. It handles exclusively RORO cargo in Lagos as well as similar cargoes as Apapa (container, bulk and general cargo). Some of the terminal operators in the port include Grimaldi’s PTML, AGL Logistics (Formerly Bollore), etc.
  3. Lekki Port – located in the eastern part of Lagos – far away from Apapa and Tincan Island Port – is a brand-new port recently developed by a consortium that includes CMA CGM Group. It is the largest and first deep seaport in Nigeria, with capacity to handle bigger vessels with deeper draught (16.5m).
  4. Onne Port – located in Rivers State, near Port Harcourt on the South-Eastern part of Nigeria. It is the main port that handles oil- and gas-related cargo in Nigeria in addition to other cargo types. Terminal operators at Onne port include APM Terminals operating as WACT, ICTSI operating at OMT, and Intels.
  5. Port Harcourt Port – also located in Rivers State under Rivers Port complex. It handles both general and containerized cargo.
  6. Warri Port – located in the midwest part of Nigeria (Delta Port Complex). It serves as a gateway port for export of petroleum products. It handles general cargo, containers, and oil-related shipments.
  7. Calabar Port – located in Cross Rivers state – in the South South region of Nigeria. It handles general cargo, containers, and bulk cargo
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 How about customs clearance in Nigeria. Is that a difficult process overall? 

Customs clearance in Nigeria, like in many other African countries, can be a complex process that involves multiple steps and compliance with various regulations.

Bureaucracy, frequent policy changes, red tape, allegations of extortion are some of the issues that plague the customs clearance process in this part of the world. However, at JBV, over the years, our team of experienced customs brokers have made the supposedly difficult process easy and hassle-free for the majority of our clients by bringing our experience to bear in preparing appropriate documentation and ensuring proper execution of the customs clearance process for all our client’s shipments.

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How do you feel about the shipping lines and the services they provide currently? Are they service minded, and can you get hold of anyone in case of problems?  Are there any lines you have good or bad experience with?

My overall feeling about shipping lines is generally positive. While some of them do have issues from time to time, we’re able to solve some of the problems relatively quickly. One important factor which has helped is that myself and some of the team have worked in some of the shipping lines in the past, so the network and connections comes in handy in case of any problems with our clients’ shipments.

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Do you currently belong to any networks?

Like I earlier mentioned, JBV is a Nigeria-based local business with a global mindset. Hence, it is important for us that we’re able to connect with like-minded partners across the world.

Cross Ocean is a network that allows us to connect with such partners and has been one of the networks of choice for us at JBV. Within a short time, Cross Ocean has truly offered us great value.

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How would it be best to get in touch with you?Email:
Tel: +234 201 342 6977
Mob: +234 813 467 3271 (WhatsApp, WeChat, Telegram)

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