"The Company That Makes Africa Work Better"

Alistair Group, a shipping and logistics company based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, has shown how an American-owned business can grow into an international role model, moving other companies and the government of an African country toward better policies, transparency, technology, and opportunities. Alistair Group is a prime example of impact investing.

Alistair Group

Alistair Group, established in 2007 with just two trucks, used a seven million OPIC loan in 2012 to expand its fleet and operations. The company offers shipping and logistics services for major mining, oil, and gas companies as well as global relief organizations with routes to Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, and South Africa.

Now a regional logistics company with 152 tractor trailers, Alistair Group plans to expand operations further and create a new hub in central Tanzania that will speed repairs and get trucks back on the road more quickly.

Alistair Group

“Working for Alistair Group makes me feel empowered as a worker and as a professional.”

Yona Nyaguda, Manager, Alistair Group

Innovative Technology Impacting the Industry

Innovations are revolutionizing Africa. With Alistair Group’s focus on technology, customers receive constant updates on their shipments online and the company is developing a new app referred to as the “Alistair App.” It is being created by a California company, Flat Six. With this, customers will be able to use their phones to follow their shipments in real time, ensuring that Alistair retains its reputation for reliable, timely, and secure transport of their goods.

Alistair Group has an impressive control room and a GPS tracking system for their trucks that allows them to monitor the location of every truck and shipment. This helps safeguard cargo from theft or loss and reduces corruption. This has raised the bar for other logistics companies and their competitors are beginning to use similar technologies.

“Innovative technology to track shipments is raising the bar in the logistics industry throughout East Africa. Other companies are taking notice.”

Meraman Modhwadia, President, Dell Trailers
– An Alistair Group Subcontractor

Standing Up Against Corruption Leads to Economic Opportunities

In many countries, customs clearance and border controls present opportunities for corruption. Tanzania has not been immune to this. Foreign companies interested in importing or shipping goods in the region have identified petty corruption as an obstacle to investment. Alistair Group has a zero-tolerance policy to bribery and corruption. Absolutely no bribes will be paid ever. Because of this commitment, corrupt officials no longer even stop Alistair Group trucks, knowing that they will not receive a bribe.

Tanzania

It appears that the benefits of this hardline position are being noticed by other companies and the Tanzanian government. Alistair’s competitors and suppliers are looking at instituting similar policies and the Tanzanian government is realizing that there are strong economic benefits to improving the investment climate.

OPIC Impact Investing

“With a pledge to never stop a truck to pay bribes, we're staying true to our company's values and increasing the efficiency of our customers' deliveries.”

Alistair James, President, Alistair Group

Having ports, borders and export processing zones that companies can trust to be corruption-free spurs investment. Efficient, reliable transportation of goods encourages new investors to consider choosing Tanzania over other nearby locations.

650,000

Tons of cargo shipped every year

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The 'Alistair Group Effect:'
Suppliers and Client Improving Business Practices

Alistair Group’s suppliers and contractors have taken an interest in the company’s standards and principles, which include always paying invoices on time, investing in employee development, offering benefits, providing performance-based awards, and implementing innovative technologies.

These companies are seeing Alistair as a role model and incorporating these best practices into their own corporate cultures.

OpenSanit

“Having Alistair Group as a client has grown our business tremendously. We're investing in our workers, new equipment, and better service to make us more competitive.”

Adelard Leodegard, CEO, OpenSanit – An Alistair Group Supplier

For example, uniform manufacturer OpenSanit, an Alistair Group supplier, has trained workers to improve their manufacturing skills, gained new business and expanded operations. It also requires its customers to pay invoices on time.

As for Alistair Group customers, the company’s technology innovations – ensuring safe and timely deliveries, customer service, and transparency – have encouraged them to demand the same from other vendors. Alistair Group is clearly setting a new standard for doing business in Tanzania.

OpenSanit

“More business to my store has helped me earn more income to put my children through school.”

Gloria, a local shop owner near Alistair Group's headquarters

Business Doing Good in the Community & Bolstering Women Entrepreneurs

Around the corner from Alistair Group’s headquarters in Dar es Salaam, the company is making a noticeable impact in the community.

Alistair pays for its employees' lunch every day. As a result, Alistair Group has helped a small, women-owned restaurant hire several additional workers – all female – to support the increase in business. More traffic near her sundries shop visited by Alistair employees has helped another business owner increase her income and send her children to school.

Women Entrpreneurs

Finally, as a result of its commitment to social responsibility, Alistair Group has installed a water spigot providing clean, potable water at its gates for use by nearby families in the community. Every evening, dozens of women and girls line up to take advantage of the clean water that they can access for free at Alistair Group.

Tanzania Water

“The one word I would use to describe our partnership with Alistair Group is ‘integrity.’”

Pastor Reuben, director of a small local church in Dar es Salaam who rents extra land for Alistair Group's truck storage

Alistair Group Is Making a Difference

As a result of a $7 million loan from OPIC, Alistair Group has had a broad impact, not only on its own business potential, but on employees’ professional development, opportunities for women in leadership positions, the use of innovative technologies, reduced institutional corruption, ease of “doing business” in East Africa, the growth of small businesses, and the well-being of the community.

Through its resolve to conduct business with the highest level of integrity and in full compliance with international and local regulations, regardless of the cost, Alistair Group is on the road to making an impact on the continent.

OPIC small businesses