How to Start Haulage Business in Nigeria

Starting a haulage business in Nigeria requires huge startup capital. You could launch the enterprise with one truck and gradually increase inventory.
It’s highly lucrative but requires serious logistics, networking and legalities. There are risks such as accidents, loss of goods and liabilities.
Haulage business is a billion dollar industry that is highly regulated.  To launch the enterprise you need knowledge of the industry, funding and a business plan.
Why the Industry Thrives
There are lots of imported goods, petroleum products and building materials that require transporting. Major import hubs are located in cities such as Lagos and Port Harcourt.
The trucks ferry imported goods to other cities in the hinterland and north. Other pointers include huge population, import dependency and poor rail system.
Haulage
Challenges
Owning a trucking business is akin to living in the Wild West. There are lots of challenges faced by haulage companies in Nigeria.
They include difficulty in obtaining legal haulage documentation, bottlenecks, corruption and bribery. Others are poor state of the roads, bad trucks, dishonest drivers, inexperienced mechanics and highway robbers.
More are duplicity of charges at custom clearing points, gridlocks and inadequate spare parts.
  • Obtaining legal haulage documentation
  • Bottlenecks
  • Corruption
  • Bribery
  • Poor state of the roads
  • Bad trucks
  • Dishonest drivers
  • Inexperienced mechanics
  • Highway robbers
  • Duplicity of charges
  • Gridlocks
  • Inadequate spare parts.
Haulage Items
Major industries that require lots of haulage are imports, exports, petroleum and building industry. There are lots of items transported by haulage companies.
Common items are vehicles, petroleum products. Spare parts, sewage and commodities. Others include electronic products, food items, raw materials and building materials.
Northern Nigeria is the food basket of Nigeria producing agricultural items like tomatoes, yam, fruits and livestock. Other item transported are cattle from the north and agricultural items.
  • Building Materials
  • Imports
  • Exports
  • Petroleum products
  • Spare parts
  • Sewage
  • Commodities
  • Electronic products
  • Food items
  • Raw materials
How to Start Haulage Business in Nigeria
Write a Business Plan
You need to write a truck haulage business plan and feasibility study. The plan should focus on type of truck and preferred niche. Others include trucking license, business structure, management team, funding and staff.

Funding
The amount of money you need depends on the size of your fleet and parking lot. You need serious cash to venture into haulage business.
Securing haulage contracts is challenging and daunting. Securing bank loans could be counterproductive due to payback period and interests.
The best format is using a partnership arrangement with a rich investor. To reduce costs you could focus on used vehicles and even drive the truck yourself. Many small entrepreneurs use hire purchase arrangement to secure vehicles.

Choose a Niche
It is important choosing a niche industry to actualize your vision. The industry dictates the type of truck you purchase and type of haulage license.
Industries to consider are petroleum sector to haul diesel and fuel. Make sure you negotiate your contracts and receive part or full payment for your services.
  • Petroleum sector
  • Agricultural sector
  • Waste disposal
  • Commodity export/import
  • Spare parts industry
  • Building industry
Types of Trucks
There are different types of trucks depending on the haulage. You have sewage trucks, flatbeds, box trucks, water trucks and heavy duty trucks. Purchase the truck that best supports your business plan.
  • Tipper
  • Trailer
  • Sewage trucks
  • Flatbeds
  • Box trucks
  • Water trucks
  • Heavy duty trucks
Security
You need to secure your trucks from theft. Use a vehicle tacking company to install tracking equipment on your trucks. The software will provide real time of the trucks movement and remotely stop incase of theft.
Licensing
The niche industry would determine the type of licensing to acquire. Common licensing are business name, trade license, vehicle licensing and insurance cover.
Each industry has specific licensing and certification to lift goods. Once the product is lifted the truck driver should have the correct documentation to transport the product.
The vehicle should have a certificate of worthiness and qualified drivers.
  • Business name
  • Trade license
  • Vehicle licensing
  • Insurance cover
  • Industry has specific licensing
  • Certification to lift goods
  • Certificate of worthiness
Staff
You need an effective management team to coordinate the haulage operation. You need qualified truck drivers with history of safety and dependability. Hire a secretary and find a good mechanic.
Marketing
You need to advertise your business to attract patronage. A good way is to advertise in national newspapers or trucking magazines.
Major customers are commodity merchants, spare parts dealers, building contractors and farmers markets. Target your advertisement to you preferred demography. Use wraparound advertisement on your trucks and include phone number, address and company name.
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