Success is only visible after it’s been attained. Like a tree that reaches the clouds, the roots that hold it up are invisible. They’re beneath the ground, having spent years digging through the hard ground to stabilize and feed the tree’s growth. It is also so with businesses.
Dr. Taiwo Afolabi is a Taurus born Nigerian business tycoon who has been shining brightly in the maritime, aviation and business sectors in the last decade; nevertheless, he began sowing the seeds of success more than three decades ago while working at his uncle’s freight forwarding company.
Afolabi learnt the principle of giving and philanthropies from his mother and he argues that giving is one of the key factors for success.
“I wish people realize that giving leads to abundance. It has been a way of life for me and I have seen the impact over the years,” he says.
Born on April 29, Afolabi boasts amazing Taurus traits of a cheerful disposition and strong will, excellent organizational skills, farsighted, and godly.
Having begun his working career at a shipping outfit, Nigerian Express Agencies Limited (NEAL), Afolabi quickly became an outstanding young manager in Shipping Operation and Ports Management and later became the Head of Operations at NEAL.
After bagging a wealth of experience at NEAL, his burning desire and passion for the development of the maritime sector led him to establish his company – SIFAX Nigeria Limited in 1988. SIFAX, as it is now popularly known, has become a leader in ports, shipping and bonded terminal operation, and an institution in shipping and maritime service sector with offices in Tema Ghana, Durban South Africa, Houston USA, Rotterdam Belgium and London, United Kingdom. Presently, new avenues are being opened in Djibouti, Gambia and Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
SIFAX Group subsidiaries include the following: Ports & Cargo Handling Services Limited, Skyway Aviation Handling Company Plc, Ocean & Cargo Terminal Services Limited, SIFAX Off Dock Limited, SIFAX Logistics Company Limited, SIFAX Shipping Company Limited, SIFAX Global Shipping and Logistics, SIFAX Shipping ICT Limited.
Others are: SIFAX Agencies Ghana Limited, Sky Capital and Financial Allied Int’l Ltd, TRM Insurance Brokers, Mac-Folly Hospitality Limited- owners of Lagos Marriott Hotel, SIFAX Marine Services Limited, SIFAX Nigeria Limited, and SIFAX SAHCO Travels Limited.
Taiwo Afolabi @60
A Force To Reckon With
Dr. Taiwo Afolabi is a nice man. He is someone generally accepted as a good fellow. I have had the opportunity to meet him on a few occasions and during those few encounters I was excited with the response because they were very positive.
In the maritime industry, he is one of the bigwigs to reckon with; he knows the game and truly understands maritime business. You can see this from his vast investments in the sector and the successful results on every side. In the industry, he stands out with experience and SIFAX Group exemplifies professionalism in cargo handling, but they need to improve in the aspect of demurrage and giving waivers.
When comparing SIFAX terminals to other terminals where you can engage the leadership and get some waivers pending on how long your goods have stayed at the terminal and the amount accrued; in SIFAX, don’t even bother because if it takes one week to apply, that one week must surely be paid for additionally because you won’t get anything removed. This is the only aspect of SIFAX operations that I don’t like and as we celebrate Dr. Afolabi, it’s a good time to draw his attention to this issue.
Chief Tochukwu Ezisi
President, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF)
A Brother And A Friend
Dr. Afolabi is a great philanthropist. He is also one of the best employers of labour in the maritime sector and the union can attest to this. He is a frontrunner when you talk about the employment generated at the nation’s ports today.
We congratulate him and wish him good health to witness more successes in his lifetime. He has been a wonderful brother and friend, so MWUN will continue to partner with him.
There aren’t many adjectives to qualify him for his business exploits and investments that go beyond the maritime sector. He is a true friend and a man of his words.
It’s one thing to be wealthy but a completely different thing to channel it into business ventures that encourage and reward workers. Dr. Afolabi has empowered several people at the ports and other sectors. He isn’t a tribal fellow and there are lots of lessons to learn from his life.
Comrade Adewale Adeyanju
President, Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN)
The Ultimate Multitasker
I’m privileged to know few people that worship in the same church with Dr. Taiwo Afolabi and I understand that he is someone who is very humble and God-fearing. Of course, he is a man with a large heart and he’s very kind. We see these attributes in his philanthropic efforts, but he’s also someone who has a listening ear. One might find it difficult to see him because of his numerous work engagements with his diverse business ventures, but once you see him you will be shocked with his simplicity and humility.
Irresponsible of the circumstances, he is someone that’s always smiling. Dr. Afolabi is also an achiever and an icon in the maritime industry. He has sponsored so many programmes and scholarships including some of my mentees. I have referred people to SIFAX for training and they have obliged them with such opportunities.
There’s a maritime forum which he sponsors in the University of Lagos (UNILAG) and it greatly impacts lives. At WIMA-Nigeria, he has also done so much and we are very proud to identify with him.
When you look at the diversity of his businesses, you understand the need to multitask and be successful across-the-board. Anyone who can’t multitask may struggle to be a good manager.
The fact that all his investments from maritime, aviation, hospitality, among others are doing well, means that he understands and deploys the tenets of multitasking.
Mrs. Rollens Macfoy
President African Women in Maritime, Nigerian Chapter (WIMA-Nigeria)
A Maritime Icon
Congratulations Dr. Afolabi!
WISTA Nigeria is proud of your achievements and the giant steps you are taking in the Maritime and Logistics sectors as well as in nation building. You’re an icon and one of the advocates of local content initiatives and indigenous participation in the Nigerian shipping industry where you continue to create jobs and opportunities.
Aside from being renowned for your business acumen, you have also established a reputation as a public-spirited individual. Your philosophy has driven you to give hope and support to many public causes and affairs. Your philanthropic initiatives are exemplary and commendable.
We are delighted to be associated with you and have no doubt that you will continue to succeed in your endeavours.
It is a pleasure to wish you a very Happy Birthday on your special day. May only the greatest things come your way, lining the path for what will hopefully be a wonderful year ahead. You are an amazing person who supports and encourages us every day.
May you encounter wonderful moments in life as we at WISTA Nigeria wish you a wonderful Birthday sir!
Mrs. Eunice Ezeoke
President, Women International Shipping and Trading Association (WISTA) Nigeria.