FIATA RAME comes to Uganda and invites the region to raise its voice with the "Global Voice of Freight Forwarders"!

FIATA e-flash
11 August 2023

FIATA RAME comes to Uganda and invites the region to raise its voice with the "Global Voice of Freight Forwarders"!

On 1 August 2023, in the Speke Resort and Conference Centre of Kampala, Uganda, FIATA President, Dr Petrov, opened the annual 2023 field meeting of FIATA's Region Africa Middle East (FIATA RAME). Hosted by FIATA's Association Member in Uganda, UFFA, the FIATA RAME meeting featured a 2-day conference welcoming over 250 logistics professionals from all over Africa to discuss the challenges of logistics professionals in the region.

The importance of FIATA RAME for FIATA was demonstrated by the high-level FIATA leadership present with the FIATA President Dr Petrov (Bulgaria), FIATA Senior Vice-President, Mr Sim (Singapore), FIATA Director General Dr Graber (Switzerland), acting FIATA RAME Chair, Ms Mashiri (Zimbabwe), FIATA Airfreight Chair, Mr Woubishet (Ethiopia), FIATA IFCC delegates, Mr Tanna (India), and FIATA Vice-President, Mr Taylor (Chile).  

The FIATA President invited freight forwarding associations to join FIATA to ensure a strong and unified “global voice of freight forwarders”. He presented the current work of FIATA, including: digitalisation, a Global Air Cargo Programme, multimodal corridors development and promoting a level-playing field. He highlighted the FIATA Regional Strategy after 3 years of pandemic and the commitment of FIATA to reinforce its regional activities and support its association members in the region.

The acting FIATA RAME Chair reminded participants of the importance of ensuring that all forwarders in the region raise their voice so that FIATA can find appropriate tailor-made industry solutions. She highlighted that:

In a time of artificial intelligence, this kind of meeting allows the possibility to meet real people, to know who we are talking to, and to trust the expertise exchanged”.

UFFA showcases Uganda's importance for the region in logistics

The UFFA President opened the FIATA RAME meeting recalling Uganda's importance for the region in logistics, despite being a landlocked country, stating: “The RAME field meeting is an opportunity to showcase the potential of Uganda and show the fraternity of our industry”. 

General Katuma, Minister of Works & Transport, Republic of Uganda, reiterated the importance of a strong and united strong freight forwarder voice. For the logistics industry, time is of the essence, and he highlighted his support to foster innovation and growth for a modern and more resilient logistics supply chain. General Katuma congratulated FIATA and the forwarding community for its achievements in facing the challenges brought by COVID 19 and welcomed FIATA to support Uganda to further develop and modernise the supply chain for the resilience and adaptability of the industry.

Mr Katuma noted that collaboration with neighbouring countries on crucial infrastructure is key to reducing the cost of transport. He also considered that air transport will play a vital role in strengthening Uganda's logistics services and supporting other sectors of the economy such as tourism, trading, and export of fresh goods. He concluded by stating:

“Let’s us work together to make the industry more resilient and support landlocked countries that are committing to invest in and to improve its logistics infrastructure, and ensure a more resilient and efficient logistics system". 

FIATA's work on capacity building, digitalisation, Global Air Cargo Programme and maritime competition in the region's spotlight

The FIATA RAME meeting brought together a panel on key trends shaping global supply chains and market evolution, with a focus on maritime competition and unfair practices in logistics that impact the region's freight forwarders. Key highlights include:

  • Gerald Mukyenga, Group Managing Director of Multilines International Ltd. highlighted the unfair practices imposed on freight forwarders in the maritime supply chain which impact the possibility for fair competition and which threaten their future existence.
  • FIATA's Director General applauded the excellent work produced by FIATA's Working Group Sea. He recalled the US Federal Maritime Commission's (FMC) recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on carriers' refusal to deal or negotiate, which refers to and aligns with FIATA's recommendations, and considered that the document could serve as a basis for engaging the freight forwarding industry with national authorities.
  • Fresh off a 42-hour flight from Chile to Uganda, Neil Taylor, FIATA Vice-President and longstanding WG Sea delegate, shared with the audience his experience of visiting FIATA members around the world to gather evidence of wrongdoing in the maritime sector, and underlined the importance of acting together within FIATA RAME to defend the freight forwarding industry.

Another remarkable presentation was provided by Senior Vice President Thomas Sim, offering a comprehensive and thought-provoking perspective on the evolution of capacity building in logistics

In keeping with the focus on developing a more resilient and efficient logistics supply chain, the FIATA Director General, in his keynote presentation, highlighted the role of FIATA to bring tools and digital solutions to its 40’000 strong global freight forwarding community, including the digital FIATA Bill of Lading and identity registry, which increase security against fraud thanks to blockchain technology. Digitalisation of transport documentation is expected to save up to USD 6.5bn, enable USD 7bn in gains by reducing inventory and financing costs, unlock USD 30-40bn in trade growth by reducing trade friction, and save 28,000 trees. The FIATA Director General stated:

“All freight forwarders can today become a digital freight forwarder thanks to the roll-out of the FIATA Digital Strategy. FIATA is working with its Association Member UFFA, to bring the logisticians in Uganda on the digital path for more a more resilient and cost-effective logistics." 

The picture would not have been complete without the remarkable presentation of the FIATA Airfreight Institute (AFI) Chair, Dawit Woubishet (Ethiopia), with the kind support of his predecessor and IFCC representative, Keshav Tanna (India). He highlighted that the current framework governing the forwarder-airline relationship is based on the concept of freight forwarders as agents of the airlines, which does not reflect the commercial realities of today. He presented the work of FIATA to give freight forwarders a meaningful voice and the need for harmonization globally, and in particular the implementation of a modern Global Air Cargo Programme in Africa that addresses industry needs. 

Nomination of RAME Chair and Vice-Chair: Africa makes history!

For the first time in FIATA history, FIATA RAME members have nominated two female leaders to spearhead the work of a FIATA standing committee, showing the way on modernisation. Dr Juanita Marree (South Africa) has been nominated for the position of FIATA RAME Chair, and Ms Sheila Mashiri (Zimbabwe) will continue as acting FIATA RAME Chair until the next election.

Ms Mashiri declared that she wishes to continue to support RAME as FIATA RAME Vice-Chair, and to bring her full support to Dr Marree. Ms Mashiri will also run this Autumn for a position as Vice-President of FIATA to represent the African freight forwarders community in the FIATA Extended Board.

The FIATA President welcomed this historical election and congratulated FIATA RAME for showing the way on gender balance.