Stakeholders in regional logistics gathered at the 4th Global Logistics Convention in Nairobi, Kenya, with a central objective: to enhance the cross-border movement of goods and services. Attendees from fifteen countries convened to address a pressing need – the elimination of transport and trade barriers hindering the smooth flow of cargo within the region.

Acknowledging the adverse impact of high taxation on import volumes, especially in Kenya, Roy Mwanthi, Chairman of the Kenya International Freight and Warehouse Association (KIFWA), expressed optimism. He confidently stated that despite the current slowdown, a rebound in importation is anticipated in the coming months.

As the Mombasa Port, recognized for its efficiency, contends with a declining preference compared to Dar es Salaam, the implications of these challenges become evident. Mwanthi highlighted this contrast by noting that approximately 30 vessels await clearance at the Tanzanian port, while only seven do so in Kenya, underscoring Kenyan superiority in cargo clearance efficiency.

The need to enhance connectivity between African nations was underscored by George Kidenda, the Managing Director at Freightlogix Kenya Ltd. He pinpointed challenges within this domain, including an underdeveloped road network and limited airline landing rights, calling for attention to streamline trade operations. Furthermore, he advocated for increased collaboration among African airlines to promote trade fluidity.

Peter Musola, Head of Cargo Commercial at Kenya Airways, shared insights into the airline’s initiatives to reduce cargo freight costs. Notably, with over 75% of Africa’s current cargo movement handled by foreign operators, there exists an overwhelming reliance on them. Musola emphasized a critical point – African carriers are making a comeback, actively pursuing partnerships and entering into codeshare agreements to enhance connectivity. This marks significant progress in reducing their dependence on foreign counterparts.

Striving to streamline logistics and facilitate cross-border trade, the region’s stakeholders advocate for a concerted effort to dismantle barriers, improve infrastructure, and foster collaboration among key players. The path forward involves addressing taxation issues, enhancing connectivity, and promoting cooperation, propelling the region into an era defined by efficient and seamless logistics.