Regional freight forwarders on Friday penned two vital agreements with foreign associations including one removing the longstanding burden where companies were compelled to pay a cash deposit fee of $2,000, per container, before leaving the port.

This came after a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Federation of East African Freight Forwarders Associations (FEAFFA) and the Dubai based National Association of Freight and Logistics (NAFL).

Fed Seka, Chairperson of FEAFFA who signed the deal with Alexis Perinet-Marquet, Director of Product and Business Development at Switzerland-based Viaservice SA, at the end of the third Global Logistics Convention held in Kigali told Sunday Times that it is a big relief to Rwandan and regional businesses.

The longstanding issue of container guarantees charges at the port, Seka said, was impeding business as the amount charged per container was too much. Now that it has been removed, he said, the cost of doing business will also reduce.

Seka said: “There will no longer be cash deposits on containers; there is an issue which has been there, called a container deposit guarantee of $2,000 paid to the shipping line before one lifts every single container from the port.”

“That money would be refunded once one returned the shipping boxes but it was a lot of money hindering our business. Imagine if you had 20 containers how much you would leave at the port as a container guarantee. That would be way too much.” With the signing of the MoU, he explained, Viaservice ensures the cash deposit will be no more. Seka said: “This is of great benefit to the Rwandan business community and others in the region.”

Among others, the agreement between FEAFFA and NAFL aims to: promote collaboration and interaction between the two parties; promote business collaboration and interaction between the members of the two organizations; and promote freight logistics business between the regions represented by the two parties.
It will also help train and professionalize the freight logistics industry, adopt international best practices, and promote the common good of the freight logistics industry.

The second MoU signed Friday was between FEAFFA and the Ethiopian Freight Forwarders and Shipping Agents (EFFSAA), to provide a framework of cooperation so as to, among others, lobby for a favorable business environment within the two regions. 

The second deal also aims to promote business collaboration and interaction between members of the two organizations, promote transit transport and logistics business between the regions, train and professionalize the freight logistics industry, and promote the common good of the freight logistics industry.

Seka said: “If anyone from here wants any logistics services from Ethiopia, Egypt or Djibouti, we will be able to make things happen as we shall be connected by partners there. Logistics is a network. And we have now extended our networking as a business community.”

During the same conference, TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) signed with FEAFFA a four-year $3.5 million deal aimed at enhancing the latter’s ability to provide competitive and high quality services.

TMEA under the EAC logistics sector skills enhancement program has agreed with FEAFFA to help enhance the skills of regional customs agents, warehouse operators as well as freight forwarders.

The fund will support a four-year programme that aims at enhancing skills for customs agents, freight forwarders and warehouse providers in East Africa.

Source: The New Times, 1st of September 2019