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Pioneer Transport employees have taken over the company in a bid to save it from closure following its failure to meet revenue targets over a period of time.”Pioneer Transport is entering an exciting transition period where the management team and work force are taking over the reins from transport giant Unifreight Africa Limited.

“With the formalities out of the way, the company can get back to the business of transport and focus on long-term goals. Fleet recapitalisation and improved service delivery to ensure sustainable business growth and continuity are what we aim to achieve in the next five years,” said Pioneer Transport managing director Mr Chris Mamhiwa at the official handover ceremony last Friday in Harare.

The firm currently has 92 horses and 197 trailers and is expecting to buy 10 new horses during the course of the year.

Mr Mamhiwa said the confidence shown by the Pioneer Transport workforce, consisting of over 230 people, in the company and its future is in itself ground-breaking.

He said they have agreed to accept the challenge of keeping the wheels on the trucks turning and most importantly to ensure the high standard of service that customers have come to expect from the transporter is maintained.

“There has been a shift of responsibility to make the company successful again and this will be shouldered by the entire workforce with pride,” said Mr Mamhiwa.

He said the company will focus on paying creditors and its statutory debt is currently sitting at about $800 000.

“Honouring our commitments and financial obligations which happen to be the purchase price, will be of paramount importance in all our plans and will be met without fail,” said Pioneer Transport finance director Mr Nicky Ngido

Unifreight Africa chief executive Mr Gary Smith said the listed company will continue assisting the new shareholders of Pioneer Transport.

Pioneer Transport was formed in 1999 by Simon and Hamish Rudland and was a flagship brand under Pioneer Corporation Africa Limited.

The company concentrated on full truck loads on both local and cross-border transport routes, the yellow trucks becoming a well known vehicle on the roads in South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia.

Since 2013, Pioneer Transport had not been meeting revenue targets and the employees decided to take a positive and pro-active approach and presented the proposition of a management buy-out to shareholders Unifreight Africa Limited.

The company will continue to concentrate on its core business, which is cross border transportation and will operate from all three of its depots in Harare, and the other two strategically situated in South Africa, in Mussina and Johannesburg.

Source : The Herald