In Africa’s second-largest country road transport has always been a challenge given its vast geography, large forests, crisscrossing rivers, and low population density. Decades of wars and turmoil damaged the networks that were there.
But when investments in the country’s reconstruction gathered pace, entrepreneur Moise Angel saw a strong business opportunity and founded transporter NRJ in 2006.
By finding a route through Angola, the company was the first to open a connection between Kinshasa, the capital, and Lubumbashi, the country’s second-largest city located in the country’s southeastern part close to the Zambian border.
What started with fourteen trucks and thirty trailers is now one of the country’s leading haulage companies with a fleet of around 110 trucks and 130 trailers that continues to grow. Half of its sales come from transporting containers from the port in Matadi into the country and the other half from transporting cement, fuel, and logs.
In recent years, the company also built a reputation for providing specialist large convoy transport, including large hydro and other equipment.
The transport market in the DRC is highly fragmented with many small haulage companies, often informal, that undercut prices. There are only a few large companies. NRJ is the only SME transport business that managed to scale up.
Investing in staff well-being
Because of its adherence to international standards and its focus on quality, NRJ was able to get important contracts from well-known companies, which is difficult for informal players or those who take safety and standards less seriously.
The company, employing around 240 staff, stands out for its reliability - clients can also track their cargo. NRJ can offer this service as it renews its trucks every five years. Its drivers have the best trucks to navigate the notoriously bad roads and dangerous traffic.
NRJ also invests in its drivers by paying them well, providing them with personal protection equipment and ensuring health and safety remains top of mind. As a result, the company has a high staff retention rate. The investments in the trucks also pay themselves back in fuel efficiency and fewer car breakdowns.
XSML has invested a total of US$ 4.75 million in NRJ since 2016 to buy new trucks, build a new hub and staff facilities.