Anti-Counterfeit Agency
Bureau of Standards
Girissa Rhamu
Kenya Revenue Authority
Kilifi County
Mandera County
Mtwapa Coast Breeze Hotel
Saeed Abdirahman
Sidoman Limited
University of Nairobi.“I later

Man beats the odds to set up booming logistics business

Man beats the odds to set up booming logistics business

After graduating with a diploma in information technology at the Kenya Technical Teachers Training College in 2006, Saeed Abdirahman ventured into the shipping business and does not regret it. Brought up in a humble family in Girissa Rhamu, Mandera County, Mr Abdirahman’s journey to becoming a businessman is filled with lessons of hard work, patience and determination.“I knew deep down my heart that I had a passion for business. After graduating with a diploma in IT I travelled from my home in Mandera to Mombasa and got a job as a driver.“I lived in a single room, not far from where I worked, and often walked to and from the office instead of using matatus to save money,” the father of four boys said.

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After working for several months as a driver Mr Abdirahman quit the job and started working for a shipping and logistics firm at Mombasa port. He counts on his discipline in saving as the stepping-stone to his massive business.“I saved consistently for three years. I set aside Sh8,000 to Sh10,000 every month from 2007 and by the end of 2009, I had saved Sh300,000 which I used to register my company. I started a shipping and logistics firm because I understood it,” he said, adding that he denied himself the luxuries his agemates enjoyed.Mr Saeed is the founder and CEO of a Mombasa-based logistics company Sidoman Limited. At its inception in 2009, the firm only offered clearing and forwarding services.“At first I had problems expanding the business because I had no office. Sometimes I missed lucrative businesses because of my limited resources. I referred clients to established businesses in exchange for a commission,” he said.The companies took over his potential clients. But frugality and dedication saw him grow Sidoman Limited to a multi-million venture.Today the firm offers logistics, clearing and forwarding, brokerage, agent and warehousing services mostly through Mombasa port.“My company has six Mercedes Benz trucks which have real time trackers. We also have more than 40 experienced staff members who I bank my success on,” Mr Saeed said.The company has expanded and now offers transit transport services with branches in Kampala and Dar es Salaam. He plans to set up more branches across Africa.The 36-year-old entrepreneur also runs Mtwapa Coast Breeze Hotel in Kilifi County which he bought at Sh75 million and refurbished into a luxurious get-away with 34 furnished apartments.His challenges include high duties and delays. Mr Abdirahman said that the government’s new stringent directives on clearing goods at Mombasa port was hurting his business.The measures were imposed following the proliferation of fake goods in Kenya.Cargo passing through the port has to undergo thorough inspection which takes long and attracts high storage charges, he said.“The new directive states that goods at the port should be inspected by various government agencies like the Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Bureau of Standards, and the Anti-Counterfeit Agency, which takes long.“We are charged more when containers stay longer at the port. As a result some clients lose confidence in us. We have to explain to them the whole process in order to retain them,” Mr Abdirahman said. Also, there is high competition in the sector.He also plans to venture into the fuel selling business.“High fuel prices have adversely affected our transport business making me consider investing in a petrol station,” he said. Mr Abdirahman attributes his success to patience, hard work and determination. He is an education enthusiast and alongside working hard to improve his businesses, he loves to expand his knowledge.“From 2009 to date I have been balancing work and school. After attaining the diploma in IT I enrolled for another diploma in business management at the University of Nairobi.“I later pursued a degree in project planning and management. I am currently studying for a masters in the same course. God willing, I will pursue a PhD in the same field,” he said.

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