Logistics professionals gather to improve sector

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(Photo: Anteneh Aklilu)

A logistics conference organized by the Ethiopian Logistics Community of Practice (ELCoP), Ethiopian Freight Forwarders and Shipping Agents Association (EFFSAA), Ethiopian Maritime Affairs Authority (EMAA), WFP, and Ethiopian Logistics and Supply Chain Management Professionals Association, gathered stakeholders from Ethiopia, Djibouti and around the globe.
Papers were presented evaluating the current logistics situation mostly in Djibouti. One entitled: ‘city logistics and its performance challenges’ compared Addis Ababa with other cities’ logistical experiences.
After the paper presentation, participants divided into three groups to explore: how to improve railway systems, challenges in import, export and city logistics.
Mekonnen Abera, Director General at EMAA, told Capital that these types of events are crucial to look at a wide variety of views. According to Mekonnen, they want to get as much feedback as possible to improve logistics.
The logistics guru said concerns arising at the conference will be sorted and tabled at the council established to guide the logistics sector. Under the recommendation of national logistics strategy, the country also formed the Logistics Transformation Office, which organizes the sector.
“This is the first conference for ELCoP that mainly targets to meet stakeholders at the same platform,” Elizabeth Getahun, President of ELCoP and EFFSAA, told Capital.
She said this is the way to solve problems. “ELCoP was formed last year with the aim of solving issues faced by many in the logistics sector. The conference has given a chance to gather challenges which will then be incorporated into the logistics strategy and solved,” Elizabeth added.
Ethiopia is one of the least performing countries in the logistics sector with a rank of 131 from 160 counties according to the World Bank Logistics Ranking.
The poor performance in the logistics sector is also one of the factors in the country’s poor ranking in doing business.
About a year ago, the country decided to open up the sector to foreign investors. Previously, the logistics sector was only allowed for Ethiopians or the diaspora. The government now permits foreign investors to hold up to 49 percent in the logistics business. Now companies like CMA CGM and Bollore Logistics, two dominant players in the logistics sector have signed deals with local firms to operate in the country.
Mekonnen said that opening up the sector in the process has been tabled in the national logistics strategy that concluded in 2015, but it was not applied. “Opening the sector in different stages and process may give a chance for the country to improve its performance and learn from other’s experiences,” he told Capital.
He said that foreign companies are expanding or starting business in the country.