Liberia: Site Visit and Business/Operational Intelligence Gathering in Preparation to Bid

A Cakum client wanted to submit a response to the United Nations (UN) for the UN’s Request for Proposal for

A Cakum client wanted to submit a response to the United Nations (UN) for the UN’s Request for Proposal for provision of food, water and related products to the UN Peacekeeping operation (UNIFIL) in Liberia. The client requested on-site support at their office in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, including conduct of a two-week site visit to Liberia to collect operational and business intelligence. This information would prove crucial to development of a compliant, compelling and, importantly, believable proposal.

Cakum conducted an in-depth study into the following aspects of the contract, among others:

  • History of the contract.
  • Publicly available information on the incumbent contractor and other competitors.
  • A meeting with the in-country UN Contracting Officer.
  • Availability and known specifications for relevant facilities.
  • Import/export considerations.
  • Local and regional purchase options (particularly water, fresh bread, fresh fruits and vegetables and dairy products).
  • Employment considerations.
  • Transport considerations.
  • Utilities considerations.
  • Legal, accounting, insurance, taxation and administration considerations.
  • Banking considerations.
  • Accommodation options for both non-local staff based in Liberia full-time and temporary visitors.
  • Commercial aviation considerations.
  • Immigration and quarantine considerations.

At the completion of the site visit, Cakum provided a report demonstrating all known considerations and challenges related to operating a sizeable supply chain operation of this nature in-country.

Some notable findings included:

At the time, Liberia had no ground transportation company of note. All in-country transport was conducted by individual truck owner/drivers coordinated in small groups, and barges in some areas with river transport and minimal road transport.

The port in Monrovia had zero plug-in points for chilled/frozen containers. But, technically, importers were not permitted to clear containers (a one-to-two-week process) until the containers had arrived in the port. In practice, this resulted in importers having to – not legally! – clear containers approximately three weeks prior to arrival and then coordinate trucks to be in the port to permit chilled/frozen containers to be transferred directly from ship to trailer. The trucks then immediately departed the port with all paperwork in place.