he Federation of East African Freight Forwarders Associations (FEAFFA) has embarked on the expansion of its web based FEAFFA Online Resource Centre (FORCE) aimed at facilitating the capacity building for customs agents and freight forwarders in the East African Community (EAC).
The expansion is meant to accommodate both the certificate and diploma programs as per the requirements of the new curriculum for customs agents, freight forwarders and warehouse operators in East Africa. Training materials will also be repurposed and uploaded on the e-learning portal.
FEAFFA Online Resource Centre (FORCE) an online learning portal that was originally developed by FEAFFA with support from USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub to sensitize industry players on the EAC revised Rules of Origin in the region. The portal, at the time, only had a module on the EAC revised Rules of Origin.
With the support from Trademark East Africa (TMEA) now under the EAC Logistics Skills Enhancement program, FEAFFA is expanding the capacity of the portal to support training programs under revised curriculum. For a start, the portal will host all the modules of Certificate program of the new curriculum.
Expansion of the portal is meant to ensure that training opportunities are flexible, easily accessible, and affordable to customs agents and freight forwarders in East Africa. It will also ensure training continues under the current Covid-19 pandemics. The portal, to be completed this year, is expected to offer training in the Diploma program after the success of the certificate program.
The e-Learning portal will provide an opportunity for learners to access training materials at any given time with the learners continuously interacting with trainers and fellow students while online. It will also help in tracking the learner’s progress. Reference materials will also be available for learners and trainers.
Under the EAC Logistics Skills Enhancement program, FEAFFA is updating the East African Customs and Freight Forwarding Certificate (EACFFPC) training program for customs agents and freight forwarders in the region.
The EACFFPC is a six month a mandatory training program to all Customs Agents jointly implemented by the EAC directorate of Customs, the East Africa Revenue Authorities (EARAs) and the national associations of the freight forwarding industry affiliated to the Federation of East African Freight Forwarders Associations (FEAFFA). The EACFFPC aims at equipping agents with desirable competencies in the discharge of their functions to enhance compliance, professionalism and facilitate trade. The training is offered to individuals already practicing or intending to practice in the clearing and forwarding industry throughout the East African region.
Since 2007, EACFFPC training programme was started, over 6000 customs agents and freight forwarders have qualified from the program in the region.
The EAC logistics sector skills enhancement program is expected to address the large skills gap in the EAC’s logistics sector that have resulted into high costs of doing business in the region. These are caused by several factors: key among them freight forwarders not being aware of certain regulations and multiple country regimes.