New logistics strategy embraces mobile app

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Aims at improving sector’s efficiency

A legal framework for forming a National Logistics Council which follows the National Logistics Strategy has been drafted and is expected to be discussed with stakeholders.
Early last month the Council of Ministers ratified the National Logistics Strategy to improve the country’s very weak logistics sector.
The establishment of the council is part of the strategy. It will include the private sector and will be responsible for regularly following logistics. Mekonnen Abera, Director General of Ethiopian Maritimes Authority Affairs (EMAA), said that the draft legal framework for the formation of the council has been developed. He added that the strategy has been studied over the past few years to improve the sector and has been approved by the Council of Ministers. “Following the approval of the strategy we have developed the legal framework,” he said.
“The logistics sector should be led by a high level leadership in a coordinated manner’ so we are forming the council,” Mekonnen added. He said that the draft framework would be discussed with stakeholders soon along with other priorities to be implemented to go along with the logistics strategy.
The council will also be supported by the logistics office which was previously called the Logistics Transformation Office (LTO) in a study presented to the Ministry of Transport in 2015.
LTO will be in charge of providing professionals to realize the strategy’s implementation. The office will also provide analyzed documents to the council. With high level leaders involved in the council the logistics strategy should be implemented harmoniously, Mekonnen said.
According to the study developed in 2015 by Nathan Associates Inc. a US based company, with the support of United Nation Development Program (UNDP), the council may be chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Transport. The National Logistics Council is responsible for overseeing the entire logistics system in the country.
On Thursday October 25, EMAA in collaboration with Addis Ababa Advanced Information Technology Plc unveiled a mobile phone application to automate the logistics sector.
Mekonnen said that the application would make the logistics operation, cargo tracing, reporting and follow up in the financial and customs activity more efficient.
“The IT development in the logistics sector is one of the infrastructure pieces that must improve. As a result it is part of our National Logistics Strategy,” he added.
The logistics chief expects the new strategy to work.
He said that in the process using an application called ‘Cargocanal’ would be mandatory for relevant actors like freight forwarders, shipping agents, and government offices.
Mulugeta Assefa, Deputy CEO of Addis Ababa Advanced Information Technology Plc, said that the technology that is also available on a mobile app will provide real time information about where the cargo is, arrivals at ports, improving the efficiency of the freight forwarders and other relevant marine operations.
The clients of freight forwarder would also be able to access keys and passwords to follow their cargo on this new web application.
Mohamed Ahmed Mohamud, Minister of Investment Promotion of Somaliland, who attended the launching of Cargocanal held at ECA, told Capital that his country is interested in applying this kind of technology. “We are here to see it because it is a good undertaking for Somaliland and Ethiopia, which are working on the Berbera Port as shareholders,” he said.
“It is the technology that will modernize the movements of goods with cost effective and short periods of transportation,” he added.
“We share the idea and may promote it in our country,” he added.