Spearheaded by EFL Global, a world-leading service-driven logistics player ensuring safe, transparent, and on-time delivery of millions of products to our customers, every single day.
Expolanka’s leadership in global logistics is spearheaded by EFL Global, a recognised leader in freight forwarding that operates in 39 countries. EFL offers a wide array of services including air and ocean freight, warehousing, drayage, customs brokerage, transloading, CFS operations and more. Positioned as a middle-mile logistics specialist and backed by an expansive network, innovative offering, and commitment to reliability, the Company has gained the confidence of top brands in key destination markets. Business is concentrated in the North America Trade Lane, with a growing network presence in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Central America.
EFL 3PL is the third-party logistics arm of Expolanka Holdings offering a range of end-to-end services including warehousing, and related services to their clientele. Leveraging a strategic network of distribution centers and strong capacity within Sri Lanka, the Company’s service offering is now expanding internationally.
Oki Doki (Pvt) Ltd is a well-established, technology-driven, asset-lite, transportation solutions company. The Company manages the largest digitally operated fleet in Sri Lanka and services major exporters and retailers in the Country. Building on long-term partnerships and Group synergies, the Company is venturing overseas.
Expolanka Airline Management (EAM) is a top-tier regional General Sales Agent (GSA), representing over 16 leading international airlines in over 10 countries. Positioned as a one-stop-shop airline solutions company, EAM offers a wide range of GSA solutions to its airline principles. Industry acumen, wide service portfolio, experienced management team, and strong alliances, together with the backing of the parent Company, underscore EAM’s value proposition.
|FY 2022/23||FY 2021/22||% change|
|Revenue (Rs. Mn.)||537,669||689,723||-22|
|Gross profit (Rs. Mn.)||102,352||121,016||-15|
|Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) (Rs. Mn.)||37,851||85,800||-56|
|Net finance cost (Rs. Mn.)||(1,145)||(1,106)||4|
|Profit before tax (Rs. Mn.)||36,706||84,694||-57|
|Profit after tax||29,429||71,901||-59|
|Total assets (Rs. Mn.)||176,641||284,910||-38|
|Total equity (Rs. Mn.)||114,867||118,313||-3|
|Total debt (Rs. Mn.)||28,735||88,124||-67|
|Capital employed (Rs. Mn.)||143,602||206,437||-30|
|Return on equity (%)||25.2%||99.3%||-75|
|Return on capital employed (%)||17.5%||58.6%||-70|
Slowdown of the global economy continued during the year under review, with growth estimated at approximately 3.4% in 2022. While reopening of borders in major economies, such as China, contributed to a rebound later in the financial year, global GDP growth remained weaker than expected. Sluggish conditions are expected to continue during the next financial year with advanced economies anticipated to bear the brunt of growth deceleration. Inflationary pressures and monetary tightening from major central banks served to impede growth during the year under review. Subdued forecasts from the International Monetary Fund project a decline to 2.8% growth rate in 2023, before an uptick to 3.0% growth the following year.
Stubbornly high inflation in North America remains a challenge and is stifling demand. The US Federal Reserve continuously raised key interest rates to contain inflation during the year and has signaled further rate hikes. While supply-chain bottlenecks have eased, wider geopolitical tensions including the ongoing war in Ukraine, China - US competition, and tensions between China and Taiwan have contributed to overall uncertainties. However, ensuing market conditions are expected to be a temporary point-in-time issue impacting the entire logistics industry; rather than a structural economic shift.
The global outlook for 2023 shows some improvement as energy and food prices are expected to see a decline, leading to reduced headline inflation across most countries. Soft market conditions that prevailed for the majority of the period under are expected to remain in the short-term. Easing of inflation rates toward the end of the financial year are a positive sign, even though markets are still to recover. Long-term economic stressors such as weakened investment, increased fragmentation of the global economy, lagging productivity growth, and high sovereign debt loads also remain a challenge.
The previous year, 2021/22, saw pent post-pandemic demand, the tail-end of stimulus packages in major economies, and strong consumer confidence lead a rebound for global trade despite supply-chain disruptions. However, momentum of that breakout year waned toward the end of the first half of 2022.
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), global trade achieved a record USD 32 trillion in 2022, with the global merchandise trade showing 2.7% growth, almost on par with global output. The second half of 2022 however, saw a reduction in volumes and value, as global trade declined and commodity prices dropped. The last of quarter of 2022 reflected negative growth while indicators for the first quarter of 2023 suggested stagnation in global trade of goods.
Extraordinarily high inventory levels from the previous year’s over-ordering by retailers, was a major factor negatively affecting demand during the year under review: as inventory levels in the United States and other key markets reached all-time highs during the year. This also impacted demand cycles with lack of bourgeoning demand in the last quarter of 2022. Further, negative inflationary impact on consumer purchasing power affected the pace of inventory replenishment, leading to a dip in orders and resultant drop in air and ocean freight volumes.
Rampant inflation and responsive hikes in interest rates across major consumer markets had a significant impact on consumer behavior: Escalated cost of borrowing has limited credit for purchase of durables, household goods, food, transport, while increased rates also affected credit card utilisation.
Geopolitical instability, persistently high energy prices, demand-supply imbalances, and supply-chain bottlenecks due to protracted COVID-19 preventive measures in China, with spillover amongst regional trading partners; all contributed to depressed performance of the trade and logistics sector.
Tourism and passenger air travel continued a return to normalcy during the year under review; driving a continuous increase in global air cargo capacity. Buildup of capacity saw air freight rates normalise after the previous year’s pandemic-led demand surplus.
By early 2023, the air freight market had recovered approximately 75% of pre-pandemic cargo capacity. Demand for air cargo remained depressed but displayed resilience, as cargo tonne-kilometers (CTKs) showed month-on-month gains. Gradual stabilisation of air cargo traffic is expected to coincide with stimulus provided by new export orders from global manufacturing hubs, as indicated by an average upward trend of the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI).
However, on the back of reduced demand, customer behaviour indicated increased willingness to accept longer lead times and overall preference for cheaper ocean freight over air freight. Air moving on ocean can lead to tightening of margins and conversion losses for logistics service providers dealing with the shift.
While rates are expected to fall further aligned with increased flight frequencies and reintroduction of routes, the market remains competitive and is likely to be impacted by fluctuations in season demand and energy prices.
Decline in global trade volumes that occurred during the latter half of the year under review holds sway with year-on-year decline in Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs). Similarly, ocean freight rates have normalised during the year under review, after a surge in ocean freight rates experienced during the previous year, caused by supply-chain disruptions.
Influx of newly deployed ships to the market brought on by carriers receiving fulfillment of past orders also served to drive down ocean freight rates as sea freight capacity surged and new strings were introduced.
Early 2023 has shown some signs of stability as containerised freight indices indicate easing after nine months of decline. While a gradual rebound is projected, inventory glut experienced by major retailers continues to pose a challenge for ocean freight volumes and rates in the near future. New global shipping regulations in the form of IMO 2023, aimed at reducing carbon emissions and promoting energy efficiency in ocean freight, may also impact ocean freight in the period ahead.
EFL GLOBAL BUSINESS MODEL
FY 2023 was a challenging year for the global logistics sector, which was affected by soft market conditions and spillover impact of retail overstocking that occurred during the previous year. Depressed operating conditions led to a moderation of freight volumes and normalisation of rates, resulting in an overall decline in revenue. However margins remained stable during the course of the year.
Despite subdued market conditions, EFL was able to deliver stable earnings; recording Rs. 537,669 Mn. in revenue and Rs. 29,429 Mn. Profit After Tax (PAT), with 95% of revenue from international markets. Market conditions led to a 28% reduction in ocean freight revenue and a 47% reduction in air freight revenue, year-on-year.
The Company’s earnings capacity was reflected in retention of a large portion of revenue from the previous year, and gains to overall share of business from key customers. EFL onboarded a number of new customers and retained existing customers despite challenges; even seeing an increase in wallet-share with key customers during the year.
The Company focused on consolidation during the year, prioritising network development and enhancing service and staff capabilities. Investment in capability development and relationship-building are at the heart of EFL’s consistent strategy.
Overheads in terms of Rupees increased by 63% during the year under review. Due to the depreciation of the Sri Lankan rupee, the devaluation impact on foreign currency monetary assets and liabilities was Rs. 2.3 Bn. Overall real terms OH is too an increase by 12%. Overall forex impact on performance amounted to Rs. 14.5 Bn.
Alongside addition of new warehousing capacity, the Company set up new stations in UK, Italy, Mexico, Costa-Rica, The Dominican Republic, Panama, and Brazil as part of a long-term strategy; with operating benefits to be realised in the future.
EFL showed remarkable resilience in the face of economic headwinds; closing the year with a strong balance sheet and excellent cash balance. The Company settled almost all short-term debt during the year, amounting to Rs. 89 Bn. Despite economic conditions pressuring working capital, debtor levels declined during the year. Retaining minimal debt levels with regard to short-term working capital, the Company was able to fuel its strategic acquisitions through long-term loans from the parent company and cash from the business.
The year under review concluded with two strategic acquisitions that serve to enhance the Company’s service portfolio, widen its strategic customer base, and expand business opportunities in North America.
Springboard for growth
In the medium to long-term, the Group is well set to capitalise on a market rebound. Profiled as a leading global logistics company, Expolanka has maintained a long-term focus that would set up the sector for future growth opportunities.
On the back of five strategic acquisitions in two years, network presence, service offering, and capabilities have expanded significantly. With preparatory work in place, the Group has plans to expand rapidly in the next five to seven years. Strong reserve build-up within the business and the backing of a strong parent company create the foundation for the next phase of growth.
The Group is set to expand into new markets and trade-lanes with efforts converging on two of the largest consumer markets in the world: Europe and Asia. The Asian retail market remains largely untapped and the group is exploring opportunities to meet import requirements of local brands, while providing necessary trucking and logistics services. Expolanka’s engagement in the European market has primarily been through third-parties, but the Group remains watchful with the intention to grow the region into a strong second market after operations in North America.
Strategy in motion
The sector strategy focuses on four key areas:
1. Customers and volumes
Acquiring volume by increasing wallet-share with existing customers and onboarding strategic new customers through service penetration and enhanced service capabilities.
2. Market and product diversification
Expanding offering by extending services along the supply chain and growing presence across business verticals.
3. Procurement management
Strengthening and developing partnerships to improve margins and profitability through better procurement.
4. Infrastructure, people, and technology
Leveraging technology and digital transformation to enhance procurement and improve service delivery within an efficient cost-structure.
Strengthening ancillary services and back-office functions to support operations in origins and destinations. Enhancing process efficiency to reduce transaction costs, and maintaining a strong capital structure and cashflows to propel future growth.
EFL 3PL delivered a strong performance during the year under review, despite Sri Lanka’s economic crisis and subdued global market conditions. The Company had a successful year driven by strong customer onboarding and retention, industry-leading value-addition and a dynamic suite of services.
The Company’s continuous efforts toward diversification strengthened presence in the pharmaceutical, FMCG, high-tech, and other strategic sectors. A wide service offering enabled deeper engagement and increase customer commitment, and strengthened relationships with key customers.
Testament to EFL 3PL’s dynamic work environment, the Company was recertified as a Great Place to Work for the 3rd time, and was ranked within the top 50 institutions in Asia during FY 2023.
EFL 3PL has won Gold in B2B Brand of the Year Category for the second consecutive year at the SLIM Brand Excellence awards. The award is a testament to the exceptional performance demonstrated by the company over the years.
Warehousing and distribution
Investments in value and technology-driven warehousing solutions during FY23 included expansion of cold chain capabilities and temperature-controlled areas. Ongoing expansion projects in Katunayaka and Kandana continued during the year under review, with the Katunayaka expansion nearing completion. Upon completion, it is anticipated to augment the existing warehousing and distribution space (capacity) by an additional 22% by early 2023.
EFL 3PL’s compliance, certifications, and accreditations are detailed in this section.
The Company continued to invest in Solar PV as part of efforts to scale up its share of renewable energy and decarbonise the logistics supply chain. Their freeport facility in Katunayake has been converted to a 1.1 MW solar power generating plant. The facility meets its electricity demand sustainably by utilizing only 30% of generated renewable energy, while the remaining 70% is supplied to the grid, advancing their carbon-negative goals.
It is also noteworthy to mention that EFL 3PL has obtained the International Renewable Energy Certificate (I-REC), converting their emissions at certain locations into renewable energy.
The Company continued to work with the contracted transport fleet and trucker community during a particularly difficult year in the country. Training and awareness programmes were conducted, all payments were prioritised and released on time, and direct relief and supplies were made available where possible.
Oki Doki has continued to invest in its core offering of technology-driven logistics, improving security, monitoring and tracking, and ensuring uninterrupted service availability through its dedicated operations team and monitoring centre.
Expolanka Airline Management (EAM)