reight Forwarders in the East African region will now enjoy flexible, accessible, and affordable training after the launch of an e-learning portal for the updated curriculum of the East Africa Customs Freight Forwarding Practicing Certificate Course (EACFFPC).
This is an initiative of the East African Community (EAC) Directorate of Customs and Trade, the East African Revenue Authorities (EARAs) in the Member States, and the Federation of East African Freight Forwarders Associations (FEAFFA), which developed the tool under the EAC Logistics Sector Skills Enhancement Programme (EACLSEP).
The program was supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Kingdom of the Netherlands through TradeMark Africa (TMA).
Studying through the portal will enable learners to access training more conveniently given their tight work schedules.
In an earlier interview with the Freight Logistics Magazine, FEAFFA President, Mr. Philippe Ndikumana said that one of the primary reasons for developing the online learning tool was to provide some flexibility in capacity-building by leveraging technology.
It will also provide an opportunity for agents operating away from the major EAC cities to access the mandatory training program.
Customs Agents and Freight Forwarders play a critical role in the logistics chain facilitating the movement of goods, ensuring compliance with regulations, and promoting seamless trade across borders. They are the engine that drives our regional integration and global connectivity.
A market study conducted by TMA in 2016 found that most agents faced difficulties in accessing the few training opportunities available in the sector. To bridge this gap, FEAFFA partnered with TMA to enhance the FEAFFA Online Resource Centre (FORCE), an online learning portal to support the delivery of the EACFFPC training program in the region.
A blended approach will be implemented. The portal can be accessed via lms.feaffa.com and is ready for use.
EACFFPC training program is a mandatory one-year training program for Customs Agents and Freight Forwarders developed jointly in 2007 by freight forwarders under FEAFFA, East Africa Revenue Authorities, and the EAC Directorate of Customs. The program was designed to build the skills of logistics players in East Africa enabling them to comply with set regulations and understand their liabilities in the customs processes.
The end goal is to realize a reduction in time and cost of trading by reducing the time spent by clearing and forwarding agents in customs declarations and documentation. It is projected that the EACFFPC training will result in a significant reduction of declaration errors or mistakes made by trained customs agents.
The 39th meeting of the EAC Sectoral Council on Trade, Industry, Finance, and Investment (SCTIFI) recognized the EACFFPC program as an EAC program for Customs Agents and Freight Forwarders.
FEAFFA is also implementing a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) program for Customs Agents and Freight Forwarders in East Africa under the EACLSEP. The CPD program will complement the capacity-building efforts being driven by FEAFFA in the EAC region. Through the programme, Customs Clearing Agents receive regular updates on the dynamics that constantly occur within the logistics sector.
An Integrated CPD management was developed to manage the registration and monitoring of the individual agents’ progress. Over 300 agents are currently enrolled in the system.