he Federation of East African Freight Forwarders Associations (FEAFFA) regional reach was central in creating platforms that have helped the agency to partner with other players in the East Africa region in tackling COVID 19 pandemic challenges.
Like most governments in the world, the EAC Partner States had the huge responsibility of mitigating the spread of COVID-19, saving lives on one hand and the need to ensure that the businesses and citizens were not adversely affected economically. Governments therefore came up with strict measures to contain it.
These measures exposed logisticians to new challenges including new cargo clearance requirements, additional delays, shortage of containers and trucks among others. As a result, long truck queues were seen at our borders never witnessed before.
Without a joint approach among the various industry stakeholders, surmounting the challenges the new measures brought about would have been extremely difficult, according to FEAFFA president Mr. Fred Seka.
“Despite all this, we kept going. I want to thank all of us for this resilience. Each one of us tried whatever we could,” Seka said when he addressed a virtual meeting to validate a report assessing the impact of COVID 19 on logistics.
On its part, FEAFFA for example established a regional Covid19 task force, developed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and mobilized the private sector to develop and implement a journey management system to mitigate further spread of the virus in the region. This culminated into the current Regional Electronic Cargo and Drivers Tracking (RECDTS) that was developed with support from Trademark East African (TMEA) and the East African Community (EAC). The system has today registered over 70,000 drivers in the region.
“It was important that we get a proper appreciation of the impact of COVID19 on the transport and logistics industry globally but also locally as a region. We therefore welcomed with open hands, the collaboration with the Africa Economic Research Consortium (AERC),” Seka told participants.
Added he; “It is our hope as an industry that the recommendations of this study will be useful in improving the trade and logistics environment in our region and possibly the rest of the continent.”