South Africa’s Imperial Logistics has started a joint venture with advisory and procurement firm, The Beijing Axis, with a view towards capturing more business between Asia and Africa.

Imperials’ chief integration officer, Cobus Rossouw, said the partnership was looking to benefit growing trade between China and Africa, which analysts have said could reach $385 billion by 2015.

Imperial Logistics has supply chain operations in Europe and Africa across a number of industries, including automotive. The joint venture appears to be an opportunity to expand business both in Asia and in cross-regional flows.

“This joint venture produces a team with the ability to build a seamless distribution channel from China – and other Asian, low cost manufacturing countries – to Africa, and vice versa,” he said.

Rossouw said that the main industries handled by the joint venture would be in the industrial, construction and mining sectors. In particularly he pointed to the potential for Beijing Axis to further help businesses use Africa as a low-cost sourcing location. It would also support Imperial’s logistics services of suppliers in East Asia to companies in Africa, Rossouw stated.

The Beijing Axis specialises in procurement across a number of sectors for both Chinese and international companies, with a core focus on the mining and resources, industrial, infrastructure and engineering sectors. According to group managing director Kobus van der Wath, the company supports international firms that are entering China and Asia, as well as Chinese firms as they “go global”.

The company obviously views Africa as an important growth area for China.

“As one of the first regions visited by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Africa obviously holds a very important place in the country’s agenda,” said Van der Wath. “Apart from providing the wealth of raw materials that China needs in order to support its domestic development, Africa provides untold opportunities for Chinese companies, many of which are actively reshaping the continent’s landscape as part of a complex partnership that has reignited and vastly expanded ties from a previous era.”