Side venture turns labour of logistical love for Ghanian Agriculture alum

- February 12, 2021

Even before departing Ghana, Ernest Korankye had family members requesting he ship automobiles from Canada back home. (Provided photo)
Even before departing Ghana, Ernest Korankye had family members requesting he ship automobiles from Canada back home. (Provided photo)

When Ernest Korankye (MSc’13, PhD’18) left his home in Ghana in 2010 bound for Nova Scotia, he didn’t expect to be gone long. Just enough time to complete his master’s degree and PhD from the Faculty of Agriculture, and then he would return back to Ghana to teach.

“It had always been my passion to impart knowledge acquired to help others,” says Dr. Korankye.

But life doesn’t always work out as planned.

Even before departing Ghana, he had family members requesting he ship automobiles from Canada back home. With parts and labour being significantly cheaper in other areas of the world, he found himself settling into Truro and his studies but also beginning a new venture of sorts purchasing moderately smashed vehicles and sending them overseas to family and friends. It wasn’t long before Ernest had an active side-business on the go — Asante.

“In the beginning, Asante was essentially a car dealership. Everybody wanted me to buy vehicles for them and send home, or to other parts of the world. I realized this was a good market to be in.”

A turning point

It also didn’t take long for Dr. Korankye to realize there was a gap in the services offered by Asante. Still working on his master’s degree, he reached a turning point.

“I realized the large gap our services were filling in the logistics industry. It got me thinking, and I decided to invest heavily in infrastructure (building, land and equipment) and human resources to build capacity to handle the demand for our services and growth.”

He also realized Truro was becoming his forever home.

“Truro is a small community, so it’s great here, we are raising our kids here and the people in the community are super friendly – although I could say the same for most communities in Nova Scotia.”   

Prior to moving to Truro, Dr. Korankye’s background involved science and the food industry.

“For me, being in the science field was an avenue to use my acquired knowledge to help others. Since I found that I could do the same in logistics for customers and have so much fun every day, it was an easy switch,” he says. He says there are a lot of similarities to logistics and science. “One, creativity is paramount in both fields and second, attention to detail is common to both science and logistics.”

Growth minded

As he settled into Truro permanently, Asante expanded to offer more services — warehousing, material handling, truck and freight forwarding that includes custom brokerage. “At Asante we pride ourselves with a key mission of taking logistics stress off our customers."

When shipping automobiles, there is so much more to think of than just purchasing the vehicle. It can be a logistical nightmare.

“We can provide all-in-one logistics services that are all in-house without any direct third-party contractors,” he says. “This is what really sets us apart from our competitors that mostly do one or two of these services.”

He says this gives Asante an urge for efficiency and reliability.

The success of Dr. Korankye's business is evident from his 2020 expansion. In November, he purchased the former Crossley Carpet factory, providing Asante with an additional 370,000 square-feet of warehouse space — making it the largest warehouse of its kind in the province.

“All of our customers are in Canada, mostly Atlantic Canada,” Ernest adds and therefore, being in Truro made sense. “We ship three major products — pulp, plastic and vehicles to Europe, Asia Africa and the Middle East.”

Dr. Korankye may not be teaching, as he intended, but he has found a new passion and a new home in Nova Scotia.

“It is important to me to go above and beyond to satisfy the customers, which means constantly moving product.” 


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