Uganda Shippers Council today held a comprehensive one day training of Ugandan shippers and freight forwarding agents on recent Regional Customs developments and procedures including; Single Customs Territory, Electronic Cargo Tracking System and Electronic Single Window System. This has arisen out of high trade logistics costs in the EAC.
African economies generally have the highest trade logistics costs in the world and the EAC is not an exception to this trend. In a recent study, estimates for Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda placed the average cost of trade logistics services at the equivalent of a tax of between 25 and 40% on value added. The key factor for the ability of a country to participate in supply chains is the efficiency of local trade facilitation and logistics services. Improving logistics performance and facilitating trade have been estimated to have positive effects in expanding country trade, increasing trade impacts of lowering remaining border barriers by a factor of two or more. For landlocked countries to increase exports, infrastructure to facilitate rapid entry is required. However, landlocked countries are challenged by a lack of sites for production, low level of skills and high costs of power.
“Delays still exist on the logistics chain with 52.4% of respondents indicated that they sometimes experienced delays while 33.3% indicated that they often experienced delays when moving shipments. A lot of concern also exists on the manner with which disputes between shippers and government agencies are handled with some 36.4% of respondents indicating that they are not satisfied with the manner with which complains and disputes are handled. The trading community does not receive adequate and timely information when regulations change with 56.5% of respondents indicating they rarely receive accurate and timely information when regulations change”
In light of this, Uganda Shippers Council, supported by TradeMark East Africa, is implementing a project to enhance competitiveness in the supply chain for importers and exporters (cargo owners) in Uganda.
The training was held at the Holiday Express Hotel in Kampala and facilitated by Uganda Revenue Authority and coordinated by the Uganda Shippers Council whose obligation is to ensure that the Ugandanshippers (i.e importers & exporters) are kept up to date with information which promotes efficiency in the logistics environmentand of supply chains in international trade.
Speaking at the opening of the training,Uganda Shippers’CouncilChairman Charles Kareeba thanked participants for attending the training which was so enlightening. “This information is quite timely for us as major stakeholders in the trade industry, and more so now than ever when we participate in the East African Community integration. Various policies have been tailored to ease the integration and create equal opportunities for all member states, it is these various initiativesthat will facilitate faster clearance of cargo and reduce the cost of doing business in the region”
Stephen Magera, Asst. Commissioner International Trade- URA said “ amongthe many benefits of the Customs developments and procedures, the shippers in Uganda should be assured of a swift process of managing goods in transit by providing real time feedback to the business community; reduction in transit time and the cost of doing business; elimination of duplication of processeswhereby the assessment and collection of tax revenues on consignments is done at the first point of entry”.
TradeMark East Africa is supporting Uganda Shippers Council on capacity building with a grant worth $130,000. The project aims to effectively represent shippers, design/implement program based interventions including advocacy; to develop position papers pertinent to shipping and logistics for example commissioning studies into East African alternative transport networks, review multi-modal systems including railways & shipping on Lake Victoria which in the past were viable alternative modes of transportation for Ugandan shippers; to improve compliance by shippers and freight forwarders to port and transit procedures in order to reduce costs of penalties arising from documentation and processing errors by shippers and forwarders.
East Africa Logistics Performance Survey 2012 by Shippers Council of Eastern Africa1