enya International Freight and Warehousing Associations (KIFWA) will host the 4th Global Logistics Conference at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi from 22nd to 24th November 2023.
This is an annual freight logistics event that is organized by the Federation of East African Freight Forwarders Associations (FEAFFA) and its affiliates’ national associations of clearing agents in the East African region.
The inaugural edition was held in Tanzania in 2017. Two other events were held in 2018 and 2019 in the republics of Uganda and Rwanda respectively before the pattern was disrupted by Covid-19.
The conference, which is expected to attract over 1000 participants from all over the world provides a unique opportunity for professionals in the transport and freight logistics sector to share best practices, engage with transport and logistics policy makers, interact with a wide range of stakeholders as well as learn emerging trends and developments in the sector.
The conference usually attracts participants from all parts of the world and is steadily establishing itself in the global calendar of the freight logistics sector.
The conference is an opportunity for freight logistics professionals in the EAC region to interact with their counterparts from advanced economies and begin positioning themselves for future challenges and opportunities in the sector as the regional economy continues to grow.
The convention comes at a time when the logistics industry in the world is undergoing huge several transformations and the theme of the convention- Connecting Continents: Strengthening Global Supply Chains, aptly captures the mood.
After the Covid-19 pandemic that interrupted the supply chain with high shipping costs rising, the Russia – Ukraine war, erupted. This has affected the supply chain, especially of cereals, which largely come from the two warring countries.
This has resulted in a major shift as the world’s major economic players are redirecting their flows to the Middle East, South-East Asia, and Africa, in anticipation of more crises.
Africa is expected to benefit from a transfer of investments that were previously destined for China, at a time when the development of new technologies will help it to become a credible player in the production of goods.
“Another factor that cannot be ignored is energy transition. Again, the continent has a lot of assets that could allow it to leap-frog steps and switch directly to clean energy production at very competitive prices.” Philippe Labonne, the Chief Executive Officer of Africa Global Logistics (AGL) said in a recent interview.
There is also the consensus being built when the shipping industry is going through a turbulent moment around the International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) efforts that expect shipping lines to fully decarbonize the industry by 2050.
This has attracted different opinions in recent years and has been touted as the most ambitious undertaking that the shipping industry is eyeing. Some fear it will affect the freight cost, others complain that the carbon intensity index that will categorize the ships is flawed, those say that more ships would be needed and hence more cost, and those who complain of more costly alternative fuels that are not available and those who have fully embraced the idea, especially in the developed world.
There is also a major re-alignment of the shipping lines as they seek to venture into other logistics services for them to remain afloat. Just a few months ago, Bolloré Transport & Logistics (BTL) was acquired through a buyout by the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) of its African business and by CMA CGM for the rest of the business.
Maersk has on the other hand accelerated its business transformation, expanded its integrated logistics capabilities through acquired companies like Pilot, Senator and LF Logistics, and organically grown Logistics by more than 20%.
“2022 was remarkable in more than one way. While we report the best financial result in the history of the company, we have also taken the partnerships with our customers to a new level by supporting their supply chains end to end during highly disruptive times. Our commitment to providing visibility and truly integrated logistics solutions continues to resonate strongly with our customers for whom it is a strategic imperative to make their supply chains more resilient and sustainable. As we enter a year with challenging macro-outlook and new types of uncertainties for our customers, we are determined to speed up our business transformation and increase our operational excellence to seize the unique opportunities in front of us,” Vincent Clerc, CEO of A.P. Moller – Maersk said earlier this year.
In Logistics and Services for Maersk, revenue increased by 47%, with an organic contribution of 21%. The organic revenue growth came primarily from the top 200 customers as the business continues to develop integrated solutions to meet end-to-end supply chain needs. Growth was particularly strong in warehousing where the footprint more than doubled to 7.1m square meters with the acquisition of LF Logistics alone adding 198 warehouses or 3.1m Square meters.
Technology is also of critical importance in Logistics. In the coming years, some innovations in the maritime industry to enhance sustainability and efficiency and cater to ever-growing customers’ requirements will be critical, according to Sinay Maritime Data Solutions.
Artificial Intelligence in Smart Port Operations has taken center stage in the recent past. In recent years, digital transformation has become imperative, compelling companies of all economic sectors to adapt.
There are emerging digital platforms for ship and cargo tracking, as well as the implementation of digital communication and collaboration tools. Robotics is increasingly threatening to replace human beings in the supply chains.
There is debate on big data and analytics since supply chains generate large amounts of data that are collected and analyzed to review and improve usages and processes.
There is also the new concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) where sensors are being placed on trucks, vessels, advanced navigation systems, or other equipment to transmit various data such as location, speed, and functions, through dedicated software, continuously or at a predefined frequency.
Working mobile has become the norm, especially since the pandemic. All business applications and information have to be accessible anytime and anywhere on any connected device, using a cloud-based computing system.
Autonomous ships, according to Sinay, will revolutionize the ocean transportation industry. Using an array of technologies including sensors, cameras, and advanced algorithms, these vessels can operate and navigate without human intervention.
And finally, Blockchain technology has been increasingly utilized in the maritime industry to enhance transparency, visibility, security, and efficiency across different domains such as supply chain management, vessel registration, and cargo tracking. The core concept of blockchain involves a decentralized digital ledger that provides a secure and transparent way of recording transactions.