Regional takeaways for East Africa at the world’s road transport event in Oman
Challenges into opportunities
IRU, the world road transport organisation, is bringing together the leaders of the road transport industry to discuss the big changes that are altering what we do and the way we do it. A global event in the Middle East, the IRU World Congress is the opportunity for the entire industry to come together to talk about how to turn the challenges into opportunities.
For members of FEAFFA and the wider road transport industry of the East African region, the aim is to give you the tools to build your business strategy to exploit those opportunities and to offer a forum for you to feed back to the global community your lessons learned and your vision for the future.
We spoke to FEAFFA’s John Mathenge and Wanja Kiragu from the East Africa Online Transport Agency, to hear about their expectations for the event and how it might benefit their members.
Networking and access to the global stage is a key aspect of the event. What will the East African transport community bring to the table and take back to their businesses?Current challenges for the region include lack of harmonisation, new competition from other modes – for example rail, and poor infrastructure (hard and soft). Nevertheless huge progress has been made in harmonising regional trade.
“My members will seek to network, learn, share best practice and access global trends.” John Mathenge.
John Mathenge says his members will be able to source a wider market for trucks and engage with the main import sources for East Africa in Europe, Asia, China and Japan. He highlights the potential for intra-regional connections via the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and Southern African Development Community (SADC).
WanjaKiragusees the value in networking opportunities from transport services from the greater East, Central and Southern Africa regionsto enhance the ability to match return loads and expand areas of operation.
“It is key that the region adopts global systems such as TIR to improve the transit experience and timing of goods with limited border engagements. We expect the Congress to highlight the successes of TIR and provide testimonials that will enable transporters to better engage with government on this issue.”WanjaKiragu
A model for innovation
East Africa’s record on training and self-regulation and its robust public-private partnerships – are exemplars to the rest of the world, and the region has leapfrogged in terms of innovative business models. It is embracing load matching via platforms such as www.eaotransport.com, and the last five years have also seen a willingness by East African Governments to promote efficiency in the customs and freight forwarding space. But there is room for improvement.
Knowledge is power
The Congress will offer useful lessons to empower operators to engage more effectively on future policy making and pitch lessons on how to reposition the industry vis a vis the threat from rail, with many focusing on last mile transport.
Looking forward to the next five to ten years,both Mathenge and Kiragu emphasise increased automation, the introduction and implementation of regional standards, a greater interest in safety and of course energy as some of the big questions.
“It is critical that future changes support a vibrant road transport sector.”WanjaKiragu
To join the debate and play your part inEast Africa’s road transport transformation, register now for the IRU World Congress in Oman, 6-8 November 2018, at www.iruworldcongress.com