Queen of the sea

Tshepo Kehimile
  • Palapye expatriate starts cargo shipping service

Although she grew up in the middle of a landlocked country, a Palapye native based in Ireland is hoping to make waves at sea with her international cargo shipping service.

40-year-old, Getrude Makotwane, who left home in 2004 to further her studies in the United Kingdom before relocating to Ireland in 2011, tells Voice Money the business has been two years in the making and officially began operations in January.

“The mission was to gain independence and reduce reliance on foreign companies shipping our goods for us from Ireland to Botswana. As the word got out, we also began to have requests from back home in Botswana to import cars, bales, car parts, used tyres and others,” explained Makotwane, whose company is called ‘Eirelove BWA groupage’.

While she admits trust is an issue with such enterprises, the Forensics Science graduate is confident her business will win over the doubters with its excellent service.

“The journey of the sea cargo begins in Dublin and can take up to two months. The cargo arrives at Durban port where it is loaded into cargo trains to Gaborone West (G/West),” revealed Makotwane, who set-up her cargo company with her own savings.

Queen of the sea
CARGO CONTAINERS: At the busy Dublin docks

“I decided to do an import/export business because I saw the need in our community in Ireland and also for clients back home that we needed a situation of trust and reliability, and also people who understand our demographics and society,” she continued.

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Makotwane runs ‘Eirelove BWA groupage’ with her business partner, Florence Koloi, with the rest of the crew hired on a part-time basis.

“Florence is in charge of administration work, accounting and networking. I also have part-time workers, a team of 10 depending on the job on the day and their role is to collect shipment or load a cargo.”

The expatriate’s says the business seed was sewn into her soul from a very young age.

“My passion to do business, as far as I can recall began, began when I was around five years old. I was pushed into making ends meet by selling bananas and sweets in the street because of poverty at home. It was during those difficult early years of my life that I realised I had so much joy in working with people and the pride of small daily successes. My father had a huge influence in my life and encouraged me to work towards my dreams,” said the hard-working Makotwane, who also has Diplomas in Accounting and Business Management and Healthcare Studies.

Going forward, the entrepreneur has high hopes for her establishment.

“I see my container sea shipping services extend to importing to Botswana from other countries such as China, Australia and United States. I also want to extend my services to Air shipping which will ensure fast delivery services.”

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