Today, getting a container to the heart of Africa--from Douala in Cameroon to Bangassou in the Central African Republic, say--still means a wait of up to three weeks at the port on arrival; roadblocks, bribes, pot-holes and mud-drifts on the road along the way; malarial fevers, prostitutes and monkey-meat stews in the lorry cabin; hyenas and soldiers on the road at night. The costs of fuel and repairs make even the few arterial routes (beyond southern Africa) uneconomic. A study by America's trade department found that it cost more to ship a ton of wheat from Mombasa in Kenya to Kampala in Uganda than it did to ship it from Chicago to Mombasa. But several companies are trying to make the best of Africa's creaking infrastructure to construct transcontinental logistics networks.
Source: The Economist
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