Since it started operations in 2011, Bollore Transport and Logistics has recorded tremendous achievements within and outside the organisation. The company last weeks looked back at gains made over the years of its existence in Sierra Leone.
In its reflection, one thing came out clearly: the company remains one of the leading corporate entities in the country. Based on tangible evidence, Bollore has made an enviable record in job opportunities, corporate social responsibility and philanthropy, safety of workers among many others.
Several communities especially Moa Wharf and Seaside have enjoyed the benefits of Bollore’s operations in Sierra Leone. The two are communities very close to the company’s work sites.
Speaking during an event held at the company’s site the previous week, the company’s Public Relations Officer, Gassimu Fofanah highlighted some of the major contributions the company has made to several communities.
The company, Fofanah said, had spent Le400M (Four Hundred Million Leones on corporate social responsibility.
In 2020, when Moa Wharf faced the problem of unsafe drinking water, Bollore Company swiftly intervened and made a big difference.
“The Moa Wharf community water problem was salvaged by procuring five Milla Tanks (5,000mm) each and installed them at various points in the community,” Fofanah said.
Bollore’s intervention made it easy for people to access safe drinking water for years, a move that improves the health situation in the community. Moa Wharf was also given a facelift following the construction of a community centre which was also electrified by Bollore Company.
The centre caters for the interest of those in and outside of the formal school system. For those in the school system, white boards, chairs and tables were provided to enhance their studies.
The centre is also used for meetings where important issues affecting the community could be discussed for solutions. The company’s magnanimity was also extended to seaside community.
Seaside community, before this time, had a network of poor roads, but Bollore’s contribution restored new hope there. The company provided 200 bags of cement and several trips of sand so that the community could fix the roads. The company also equally pays attention to the education of children in Moa Wharf and seaside communities.
Bollore has also offered scholarships to 27 students pursuing different courses in various universities for the current academic year. The previous year, the company offered university scholarships to 20 students. The scholarships are awarded on a fair basis as a selection committee is in place to choose the most suitable candidates.
School materials have also been donated by the company to pupils of the two communities to ease learning. Assorted school materials were also provided by Bollore to Constituency 122 in Freetown. Bollore’s intervention is in line with government’s flagship project on education, Free Quality Education.
Ross Road Police Station, the headquaters of Freetown East Region, was also equally considered by Bollore. Police high command at Ross Road was a recipient of 300 bags of cement to support a building project currently taking place at the police station.
The company has also declared its relevance to the campaign against breast cancer by providing money to raise awareness and also participated in Breast Cancer Day held in every October. Through its Marathon which is a charitable event, Bollore provided 5,000 Euros and food items in January this year, to Don Bosco Fambul, a humanitarian organisation that looks after street kids and victims of sexual violence
Apart from the valuable donations, the company, doubled its corporate philanthropy when Corona Virus Disease aka COVID-19 broke out in Sierra Leone in March, 2020. Intensifying aid to vulnerable communities and less privileged men is owed to the consideration about the cost implication associated with pandemics.
Bollore, he said, made key donations to communities with high risk of contracting and spreading the virus.
“In March and April, we donated hand sanitisers, hand washing materials as well as food condiments to Moa Wharf and other communities,” he said.
The move is to cut off the COVID-19 chain of transmission and ensured a SAFE SALONE. The company widely known for its marathon held in September of every year assisted the St George’s Home in Freetown with donations.
Since the declaration by the UN General Assembly of December, 9 every year as international anti-corruption day, Bollore has always formed part of the UN Global Compact, a voluntary initiative supporting companies to align the strategy with their operations in line with the ten principles of human rights.
This year, the PRO said, the day was celebrated at the Freetown terminal attended by the Director of Public Education of the Anti-Corruption Commission.
“Next year’s celebration, we will invite the Anti-Corruption Commission Boss,” he assured.
Despite the philanthropic intervention, the company also ensures that its workers are safe at work.
Bollore’s Health and Safety Manger, Patrick Sama says several measures must be put in place by any company that wanted to see a high level of safety and to maintain low or zero-injury in the company’s areas of operation. Bollore Freetown Terminal, Sama said which had an overriding objective in ensuring safety, had been working towards that direction since 2011.
Records, he said had shown that the company did tremendously well through the company’s action plan for the year.
“Our aim is to ensure a zero-fatality and low injury in our operations,” Sama Said.
In the achievement of such objective, he continued, a number of health and safety policies were devised in line with the company’s action plan. A broad concept, he said, was also put in place to eliminate machine and People’s relationship.
“Before now, a consignee or a clearing or forwarding agent used to go the terminal. Now, there is no need to go there since a software system has been developed,” he said. Sama also informed the audience that Bollore has also introduced the short bus system that could convey people from one point to another.
The company, he says, spends US$4,000 a month for such transportation. An environmental policy ensuring that the environment is clean and in line with the rules and regulations of the Environmental protection Agency is also in place.
He said, every Friday of every week was reserved for educating the employees on safety measures, and getting feedback from them. The staff are also briefed properly before embarking on critical operations
“Before we embark on critical operations, we meet and do step-by-step analysis on the hazards associated with the job,” he said.
Bollore also collaborates with key corporate stakeholders especially Dangote for emergency preparedness in case there is an alarm or eventuality.
In 2019, he went on, Work hours was eight but dropped to six in 2020 0wing to the outbreak of Corona Virus Disease. The safety measures practised by the company have yielded dividend.
“Form 2013, we have a zero-fatality on this terminal and we keep low injury. Between 2019 and 2020, we have only three minor accidents,” he said.
Sama also does not lose sight of measures taken by Bollore Company during COVID-19.
“In 2020, our core value was handling the pandemic and adapts to change. At the height of the pandemic, we undertook information sharing, conducted training-of-trainers for three Bollore nurses sent at the Ministry of Health,” he said.
The success the company takes pride in could not be divorced from a viable Human Resource Unit it had set up years back. Head of Human Resources Department, Claurinda Morgan said she took over with 373 staff and 276 permanent staff.
The company, Mrs Morgan said, had a sound recruitment policy. Advertisement is done in the print and other conventional media platforms. The company keep on shortlisting until the suitable candidate is found for the job.
“After the final person is selected, we go in for a police clearance and birth certificate,” she said.
After employment, she went on, the employee is given the company’s Code of Conduct and Staff Handling which is an abridged version of the company’s Human Resource Policy. The company also takes credit for an attractive emolument package.
Mrs Morgan made it clear that no employee earns less that Le1, 312, 000 (One Million Three Hundred and Twelve Thousand Leones) which is Bollore’s minimum wage.
The current minimum wage is a big leap from the Le619, 000 (Six Hundred and Nineteen thousand Leones) hitherto paid to the least employee few years ago.
The contract staff, she said, took home composite remuneration since they do not enjoy other allowances.
“That notwithstanding, the law says if they continuously work for 365 days, they must have an end-of-service benefit like any permanent staff,” Mrs Morgan said.
The Human Resource Chief also spoke about compliance with labour laws.
According to the labour laws, she says, 8 hours a day and 40 hours a week is the normal work period. Any time other than should be paid over time.
Towards that direction, the company paid an overtime of Le8.2Bn to the employees between January and December of the previous year.
See next edition.