Approximately ninety percent of the world’s goods are transported by sea. Considering the increasing importance of sea transport as the main conveyor belt for goods, there are continuous efforts at global and other levels to ensure the competitiveness of this mode.
With over seventy percent of sea freight being containerized, containers are very critical transport units and must be safeguarded and turned around efficiently if the supply chain is to remain sustainable, efficient, and fluid. This is a major concern for both the users and suppliers of the shipping services.
There are legitimate concerns. First delay in return, damage, and loss of containers while in the hands of the transport users result in losses to shipping lines and inefficient transport logistics services, inevitably promoting imposition of various requirements such as container cash deposit. Second, the cash deposit suppresses the financial liquidity and competitiveness of the container users and undermines the overall objective of trade facilitation.
In East Africa, like in many other parts of the world, container deposit has been flagged as a trade barrier for these reasons by both the private and public sector at the national and regional level. This prompted the search for a sustainable solution that addresses the concerns of both the carriers and the container users. Container guarantee is heralded as a sustainable solution that protects the interest of all stakeholders.
The Container Guarantee provides a business-friendly alternative to container deposit which is accessible to customs agents, freight forwarders, and shippers. The solution entails the issuance of a guarantee by Viaservice to authorized customs agents, freight forwarders, and shippers upon payment of a nominal non-refundable service fee to Viaservice.