-Managing Partner Nelson Torna
By Stanley Tabi
It is an open secret that business ties between Africa and the USA are on a surge. American companies are now firmly in the race for the huge market that the continent offers. Shipping is one of the most lucrative businesses and among the leading companies is Mill Wright LLC with operational base in New Jersey. Nelson Torna Managing Partner at Mill Wright says his company has been in the business of shipping cars to Africa since 2004. Services provided by Mill Wright are of the best quality with ample guarantees for custom satisfaction.
PAV: Sir may we know about Mill Wright In and how it started doing business in Africa?
Nelson Torna: We started shipping cars to West Africa in 2004 when we began Mill Wright LLC. Previously, I just owned and operated Metro T&C Inc., with my partner, John Segledi now in business for over over 15 years. It is a trucking and warehousing company.
PAV: Which are some of the countries that your shipping is done to?
Nelson Torna: Predominately, we ship to Nigeria, Ghana, Gabon, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Senegal, Gambia, Angola, Congo, Cotonou, Togo, Monrovia, Guinea in Africa.
PAV: Does the company plan to expand its operations to other countries or is it going to remain limited to the countries it currently does business in?
Nelson Torna: We have expanded into Europe, South America & China
PAV: Your Company is located in New Jersey, so what if someone in a different part of the USA wants to use your services?
Nelson Torna: Although our office and + 100,000 square foot warehouse is in Linden, NJ, we can pick up cars from anywhere in the continental US and export from almost any port.
PAV: What are some of the guarantees you have that make your services reliable, why should people be eager to trust and do business with Mill Wright?
Nelson Torna: Mill Wright is a licensed NVOCC; therefore we can negotiate directly with the shipping lines and secure more competitive rates. We have a large, SECURE warehouse where we load and store the vehicles and personal effects. In addition, we have a fenced in lot for the containers and hundreds of vehicles. Also, we have an interactive software system where the customer can log in and see pictures of their vehicles and track the status of the shipment.
PAV: How will you describe the experience of Mill Wright in doing business in Africa, what are some of the challenges that companies like yours face?
Nelson Torna: We have a very successful business relationship with our African clients. This is due to a large part of the type of business men and women that we deal with. They have a strong work ethic and operate their business overseas with integrity. Therefore, we can satisfy our clientele on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean without undue worries. Mostly, our clients own car dealerships and purchase a large volume of vehicles for their customers. We facilitate with the shipment of the freight by offering a reliable, safe, secure and timely service and they can trust that their vehicles will arrive as intended. Ultimately, happy consumers in Africa are the ultimate reason that we are both in this type of business.
The challenges are trying to capture new markets. We have been involved with the shipment of tug boats and barges for our client that has business in the oil market. We administered this process by using the largest submersible shipping vessel in the world and it came into the New York harbor for the first time. This was very exciting for us and also, the commuters on the Verranzano Bridge in Brooklyn! They would take pictures and post comments on the internet as it sat in the NY harbor while being loaded. This was the first of a few shipments of this scale. This new frontier of companies we would like to further our service of the “High and Heavy” or the “Heavy Lift” type of shipments. That means in English, large construction equipment, boats, trucks and even factories, and other types of special projects. There are many large companies in Africa that need American products on a large scale to be shipped and we invite this challenge. We love the opportunity to ship special projects and cargo.
PAV: If you had any advice for African countries on what to do to facilitate activities of companies like yours what will that be?
Nelson Torna: That would be to call us and we can discuss the movement of freight from our country to yours. We understand the wariness of dealing with companies that you are unfamiliar with and have to use your sense of trust and optimism to carry out the service, but we have a strong customer base that can vouch for Mill Wright. It is very exciting to aid the African countries in better serving their people with the tools they need to prosper and if those products come from the United States, then we will be happy to ship them. Also, many companies relocate employees from the US to work in Africa and we could handle their autos and containers of personal effects.
PAV: Africa is a huge market that so many American companies still approach with a lot of caution, what message do you have for American companies?
Nelson Torna: We have to not only reassure other businesses, but our banks as well. Nigeria has an unfortunate reputation and we are scrutinized by our own banks that I personally have to defend. Every country has its portion of corruption, but 98% of the people are hard working and trying to make a decent living for themselves and their families. By myself being a “workaholic” and have come through the ranks of starting my business from nothing to a multi-million dollar company, I have so much respect and honor for the African businessmen and women that I serve. They are humble, hardworking, and honest and have integrity and I am blessed to have them as my clients and my friends.