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Conference Highlights Opportunities for the Air Cargo Industry on the Continent

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Conference Panel

The air cargo industry has a key role to play in helping drive economic growth in Africa. There are also tremendous opportunities that it can leverage, through the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). These opportunities were explored at the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport’s Air Cargo Conference, held at the Air Cargo Africa expo and conference at Emperors Palace, Gauteng, on 23 February 2023.

The Programme included:

  • Increasing connectivity and the movement of air cargo across the region by Dr Joachim Vermooten – Owner: Vermooten and Associates
  • What is needed for AfCFA to work and what is the impact of AfCFTA on the supply chain? by Devlyn Naidoo – Executive: SARS and Other Government Agencies (OGAs): the SA Association of Freight Forwarders 
  • Potential and possibilities on the Continent: Airlink Cargo’s perspective by Hardus Kuschke – Executive Manager, Cargo: Airlink Cargo
  • Data Driven Decisions Enabled by Digital Transformation by Munya Husvu, CEO: ISB Optimus
  • The role technology will be playing within the African cargo space in the next decade vs. the African unemployment challenge by Gerhard van Zyl – AsimoTech
  • Video telematics and the use of Artificial Intelligence by Divan Delport – Sales Director – MiX Telematics East Africa
  • Trade opportunities in Africa for South African business by Thina Nodada – Director: Waymaker Trade Solutions
  • Changes to Dangerous Goods Regulations for Air Cargo by Elliot Molemi – General Manager, Compliance: Professional Aviation Services

Key takeaways from the event

Increasing connectivity and the movement of air cargo across the region by Dr Joachim Vermooten – Owner: Vermooten and Associates

“AfCTA creates a new basis on which African air transport liberalisation can be based, with the objective of creating an internal integrated air transport market, instead of a small step “piecemeal” approach based on arrangements between individual States.”

“The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) provides a new opportunity to re-start African air transport liberalisation with the objective to actually achieve a truly internal single African air transport market. This is in contrast to the current Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), which only seeks to implement the Yamoussoukro Declaration of 1988 (35 years ago) still based on Bi-lateral Air Service Agreements (BASAs) between States, of which the implementation is inadequate.”

Potential and possibilities on the Continent: Airlink Cargo’s perspective by Hardus Kuschke – Executive Manager, Cargo: Airlink Cargo

“There is endless potential for growth in Africa – due to the increase in demand. Aviation traffic is predicted to more than double by 2037. The boom in the movement of cargo will accelerate development. Cargo yields are declining at the moment, but are still higher than pre-Covid levels.”

“There is endless potential for growth in Africa:

  1. There are freighter operations to main hubs, but there is a need for connectivity to smaller hubs.
  2. E-commerce is underdeveloped.
  3. Africa’s annual economic growth remains strong.
  4. The need for bonded transport continues to grow.”

“There are however some limitations:

  1. Frustrations: Support functions from an airline’s perspective, like reliable port and rail infrastructure for jet fuel.
  2. Challenges: Inconsistent authorities, border control processes, corruption and competitiveness. Some IT systems are incapable of integration.
  3. Security: Security standards are poor in some countries.”

What is needed for AfCFA to work and what is the impact of AfCFTA on the supply chain? by Devlyn Naidoo – Executive: SARS and Other Government Agencies (OGAs): the SA Association of Freight Forwarders 

“What is required for AfCFTA to work and how do we make it work?

  1. Overcoming supply-side constraints to boost African trade.
  2. Closing the infrastructure deficit to boost AfCFTA’s development impact.
  3. Eliminating non-tariff barriers to increase cross-border trade.
  4. Establish inter-governmental international trade department support.”

“Equally important to the elimination of tariff barriers (Free Trade Area) is the elimination of non-tariff barriers and the creation of an intact continental logistics network to support the growth of intra-Africa trade.”

“Supply chains are dependent on an efficient logistics network. This includes, inter alia, efficient port infrastructure, road and rail networks, a secure and safe trading environment and efficient customs and other government agency compliance processes and procedures.”

“Skills development and capacity building for a young supply chain are key.”

Data Driven Decisions Enabled by Digital Transformation by Munya Husvu, CEO: ISB Optimus

“We see a world where every employee will work side by side with digital workers. When human and digital workers work side by side, amazing things happen! It creates a world of endless possibilities!”

“To be a digital enterprise, you need digitized processes – and a digital workforce that complements your human workforce. ‘Complement’ is an important word, because despite concerns about AI, automation, and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) eliminating jobs, we believe very strongly that digital workers should complement the strengths of people.”

“Digital workers transcend RPA: Their core attributes are bots that are intelligent, using AI to learn and improve over time; they use analytics to ensure that their work is effective; and finally, they are capable of discovering processes that can benefit from their help.

People’s core attributes feature creativity, connecting dots, building strong relationships, and having empathy and compassion for others. For people, this manifests in driving strong customer engagement, identifying opportunities, whether that be a new sales opportunity or business model. We also strive at problem solving -arguably one of our best skills.”

The role technology will be playing within the African cargo space in the next decade vs. the African unemployment challenge by Gerhard van Zyl – AsimoTech

“On the one hand, we face the African unemployment challenge. The unemployment rate in Africa (estimated) 2022 was estimated at 8%, which means 41,9 million are without work.

On the other hand, we perceive the opportunities available through technology-led productivity. Since we compete with the rest of the world, we need to keep abreast of global developments in areas such as autonomous vehicles (drones), Artificial Intelligence, augmented reality, object and image recognition and other breakthroughs.

Thus, our logistics industry needs to maintain a balance between people skills and automation in the workplace. This calls for a commitment to a spectrum of skills development that fuses traditional methods with innovation and even quantum-leaps.”

“By lowering standards education, we are not doing our youth any favours.”

Video telematics and the use of Artificial Intelligence by Divan Delport – Sales Director – MiX Telematics East Africa

“Artificial Intelligence (AI) in video telematics has transformed the way we manage and monitor vehicle fleets by improving safety, enhancing efficiency, reducing costs, and providing real-time insights. AI-powered systems can monitor driver behaviour, optimise routes, reduce idle time, and improve productivity. This technology provides real-time insights into driver behaviour and vehicle performance, enabling fleet managers to respond quickly to issues as they arise. As the technology advances, we can expect even more benefits and applications in the future.”

Trade opportunities in Africa for South African business by Thina Nodada – Director: Waymaker Trade Solutions

“South Africa could position itself as a brains-trust country for skills development across the rest of the continent as momentum picks up for the realisation of trade under the AfCFTA.”

“What we’ve seen is that there is a strong emphasis on skills and knowledge development from African countries to partner with South Africa in achieving these aims. “If South Africa got its act together, a lot of goodwill could be invested through the transference of goods, services, skills and knowledge needed to achieve AfCFTA’s aim of boosting trade across the Continent by at least 52.3%. It would take a bit of a mind-shift though, as South Africa still sees itself in different terms in relation to the rest of the Continent.”

“We must stop thinking of ourselves as the gateway to the Continent. We aren’t the gateway to Africa, never have been, and never will be. What we can be is an enabler of trade improvement.”

Changes to Dangerous Goods Regulations for Air Cargo by Elliot Molemi – General Manager, Compliance: Professional Aviation Services

“The new dangerous goods regulations have undergone a rigorous Carcom (Civil Aviation Regulations Committee) process and are awaiting the Transport’s Minister signature. The express parcel industry has over the years seen the introduction of drop-off facilities, enabling customers to drop off parcels, with little inconvenience. Examples of these facilities include Aramex’s Drop Box, Courier Guy’s PUDO and DSV’s Locker, which are stationed at shopping complexes and filling stations.

These products of convenience have come with their own problems. Customers are likely to include hazardous items like lithium batteries, corrosives and flammable liquids – out of ignorance. The SACAA has come up with a set of regulations that seeks to minimise such incidents. The regulations when summarised will require a company offering the parcel drop-off facilities to educate their users on the dangerous goods. This will be done by:

  • Requiring that the user declares if their package contains dangerous goods or not.
  • Providing information about dangerous goods to the user through the website or other electronic forms.
  • Displaying dangerous goods prohibition messages and other signages at drop off facilities.

These regulations extend to other courier products at shopping malls like Postnet and Pepkor’s Paxi – if their parcels end up in an aircraft.”

The CILTSA Air Cargo Conference was sponsored by Air Cargo Africa, AsimoTech, ISB Optimus, Messe Munchen, MiX Telematics and Professional Risk.

Talking technology, talking Africa: Gerhard van Zyl from AsimoTech in action
Devlyn Naidoo – Executive for SARS and Other Government Agencies (OGAs) at the South African Association of Freight Forwarders
Hardus Kuschke – Executive Manager, Cargo: Airlink Cargo
Munya Husvu, CEO: ISB Optimus
Thina Nodada – Director: Waymaker Trade Solutions
Elliot Molemi – General Manager, Compliance: Professional Aviation Services
Event MC Nobantu Mqulwana MILT – Managing Director: Rising Tide Advisory Services
From left to right: Gerhard van Zyl, Thina Nodada, Divan Delport, Munya Husvu, Elliot Molemi and Elvin Harris (CILTSA President)

About CILTSA

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport supports the professionals who plan the systems, who bring in the raw materials, who manage the movement of people and goods, who ensure safety standards, maintain mobility, and keep the economy working.

We are the leading professional body for everyone who works in supply chain, logistics and transport. We are a global family, representing professionals at all levels across all sectors, with a mission to give individuals and organisations access to the tools, the knowledge and the connections vital to success in the logistics and transport industry.

Founded in 1919 with a mission to improve industry practices and nurture talent, our Institute supports over 35,000 members in 35 countries. Through our educational suite, our strong community and our commitment to high standards, we help professionals at all levels to develop their careers and access better jobs.  Visit www.ciltsa.org.za and https://ciltinternational.org/ for more information

Issued by:

Contact Persons:        Catherine Larkin – CVLC Communication

Telephone:                  087 822 2858 / 083 300 0331

E-mail:                         [email protected]

Postal Address:          P O Box 44945, Linden, 2104, South Africa

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Logistics

New Multimodal Inland Port Association Launched at Transport Forum

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Railway freight train in South Africa

A significant milestone was reached in the South African logistics sector with the recent launch of the Multimodal Inland Port Association (MIPA). This new association was launched during the Transport Forum, an online event on 23 May 2024 attended by over 250 delegates, with a distinguished panel from industry, Transnet and academia. The event marked what many are calling the dawn of a rail renaissance in the country.

MIPA addresses a critical need in South Africa’s logistics landscape, which is increasingly grappling with rising costs and severe congestion. The association aims to act as the unified voice for inland ports across the nation, focusing on promoting, supporting, and advocating for the increased movement of cargo from road to rail.

Warwick Lord, MIPA

“Transporting more cargo by rail has become an imperative, considering the growing cost of logistics in South Africa. It is no longer just a nice-to-have,” says Warwick Lord, MIPA Chairman.

MIPA aims to reform the rail industry through private investment, foster trade activities that meet social objectives, and facilitate the crucial transfer of goods from road to rail. By optimising industrial and logistics activities through efficient multimodalism, logistics costs will be reduced, and efficiency will be improved.

Formed by leading entities in the transportation sector, including the Cato Ridge Inland Port, Tambo Springs Development Company, Portfutures, Autoforce, Mac Group, Cape Town Inland Port, the Cape Winelands Airport, the Musina Intermodal Terminal, RailRunner South Africa, and RailRunner Services, the association is committed to collaborating on best practices, particularly in through private sector participation (PSP). It will work closely with government and state-owned enterprises.

“We aim to create one voice for inland ports, driving workable multimodal solutions that deliver efficiency, cost reduction, and much-needed resilience to the South African supply chain. By doing so, we can mitigate the impact of external shocks and ensure stability in the logistics sector,” says Lord.

MIPA’s strategy to drive more cargo from road to rail includes using innovative multi-nodal technology and improving collaboration with other freight hubs and stakeholders, to optimise each supply chain link from a cost and efficiency perspective.

“Inland ports increase accessibility through long-distance transport corridors, leading to lower distribution costs and improved capacity by consolidating freight volumes,” explains Lord. “These multi-modal terminals can handle large amounts of cargo continuously, allowing sea ports to extend their cargo base, which is crucial given the increasing size of vessels.”

Furthermore, inland ports provide significant dedicated logistics developments, proximity to rail and highways, ample truck parking, and less traffic congestion.

Lord says MIPA is dedicated to facilitating free trade and promoting sustainable practices. The association will support its members in complying with sustainable development goals and the SADC Vision 2050.

Dr Juanita Maree

Dr Juanita Maree, CEO of the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF), highlighted the launch of MIPA: “Our logistics network is at a turning point, with more alignment across the country than ever before. By working together, we can achieve significant advancements. It is crucial to continuously foster dialogue, share insights, and raise awareness to build a sustainable supply chain for the future.”

According to Lord, MIPA will aim to expand its membership, encouraging more stakeholders to join and contribute to the conversation.

“The business community plays a vital role in developing and facilitating trade within the logistics and supply chain environment. We will lobby warehousing, transport, and consulting businesses through these channels to join MIPA. We will also seek to include State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) – as they are significant players nationally and globally – while fostering a close-working environment with the government,” concludes Lord.

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Press Releases

Unitrans launches Centre of Excellence to enhance African supply chain solutions

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Operating cost efficiencies and safety – both driver and vehicle – are primary considerations for any logistics or freight company and Unitrans, a forward-thinking company dedicated to providing value-added supply chain solutions across the continent, moves this to a new level with the launch of its newly upgraded Centre of Excellence (COE).

“The launch of our upgraded COE marks a significant milestone for Unitrans and the industry as a whole,” says Jacques Greeff, Executive of Solutions at Unitrans. “We are thrilled to unveil this state-of-the-art facility that will drive value creation and operational excellence for our clients across Africa.”

The modern supply chain is driven by ‘big data’ with information coming directly from trucks on the road, fleet management systems and other services. The COE collects, analyses this data and provides real-time solutions and information to all relevant departments, as well as to drivers on the road – for example, instant route changes to avoid traffic jams and the like.

By harnessing the power of technology through the COE, Unitrans is able to process large-scale data into actionable business intelligence.

“Our focus is on empowering our clients with real-time insights and predictive analytics that drive informed decision-making and enhance overall operational performance,” remarks Greeff. “Through our centralised platform and data-driven approach, we are unlocking new possibilities for supply chain optimisation and cost efficiency.”

Unitrans is committed to developing bespoke solutions to provide optimal results for its customers. The company’s commitment to excellence extends beyond technology and data analytics. Its team of industry experts brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to the table, ensuring clients receive best-in-class solutions tailored to their specific needs.

“We believe that the future of supply chain management lies in the integration of data-driven insights and advanced technology,” continues Greeff. “Our COE is designed to be a game-changer, offering our clients a competitive edge in a rapidly evolving marketplace.”

Greeff describes the COE as an enabling tool that serves to optimise operations, mitigate risks and enhance safety and security measures – ultimately contributing to the increased efficiencies of our customers’ supply chains. Some of the tangible benefits of the COE include fleet optimisation, reduced standing times and an overall boost in vehicle efficiency.

Whilst none of these concepts are new, the Unitrans COE uniquely balances risk mitigation imperatives and efficiency targets with sustainability objectives.

Predictive analytics

Predictive analytics means leveraging historical and real-time data to forecast future outcomes. By analysing large-scale data sets, businesses can gain valuable insights into patterns, trends and potential risks, allowing them to make informed decisions and mitigate operational challenges effectively.

In the context of a logistics business, predictive analytics can revolutionise risk management practices by identifying potential issues before they escalate, reducing operational risks and improving operational cost efficiency significantly.

Through the continuous analysis of data related to factors such as weather conditions, traffic patterns, equipment maintenance and driver behaviour, transport and logistics companies can proactively address potential problems and optimise their operations for efficiency, safety and sustainability.

“Ultimately, with the integration of advanced predictive analytics tools and large-scale data analysis, it is conceivable the supply chain industry could not only reduce operational risks, but potentially eradicate them altogether,” says Greeff.

This transformative approach has the power to improve the way supply chain businesses operate, ensuring smoother operations, enhanced safety standards, and ultimately, a more sustainable and reliable supply chain ecosystem.

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Press Releases

JC Auditors prompts Easter Road Safety Campaign

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South Africa has historically faced alarming road safety challenges during the Easter holiday period. According to past statistics, road accidents and fatalities tend to spike significantly during this time, highlighting the need for heightened awareness and proactive safety measures. According to Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga, 225 people died on the roads over the four-day Easter 2023 long weekend in 185 fatal crashes.

This is an almost 40% increase on the number of deaths in 2022. According to the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), the number of fatal crashes increased by 33% between Easter 2022 and 2023, with North West and Northern Cape recording decreases of 57% and 25% respectively in fatal crashes. The highest percentage increase was in the Free State at 125%, followed by Kwa-Zulu Natal at 67%.

As a prompt to the road transport industry, JC Auditors (JCA) are encouraging the road transport sector to consider initiating Easter road safety campaigns in the context of their business operations. The industry is being encouraged to consider simple, innovative ways to keep safe driving at the forefront during this high-risk period. With the holiday season approaching, it is crucial to avoid becoming immune to the messages of road safety campaigns and instead focus on engaging and impactful methods to remind drivers of the importance of safe driving.

“These campaigns need not be formal and big events – although the bigger corporates may opt for this – but a simple safety talk, a few impactful posters, a voice-note to the drivers, a quick reminder by the fleet controller. This can make a difference to at least one life,” says Yashen Naidoo, JC Auditors’ RTMS Lead Auditor.

More than 80% of road accidents are due to driver behavioural issues. Therefore, changing the mindset, attitude, and focus of drivers is crucial in reducing road accidents and fatalities. “From the RTMS audits conducted, we have found that distracted driving, travelling at unsafe speeds, and not maintaining a safe following distance are key contributors to road accidents,” comments Naidoo. “Drivers need to adjust their driving behaviour to suit prevalent road conditions, including high traffic density, road construction sites, wet roads, poor visibility, and damaged roads.”

Certain routes, such as the section of the N3 between Pietermaritzburg and Hammarsdale, pose an extremely high risk to drivers due to narrow lanes with temporary barriers. A minor lane deviation, a moment of distraction, or travelling at an unsafe speed can have catastrophic results. Commercial fleet operators need to raise awareness among their drivers about such high-risk routes and the need for extra caution.

The N3 Toll Route has seen a significant increase in the number of trucks over the past decade, mainly due to the transfer of freight from rail to road. On average, 7 000 trucks move thousands of tons of goods on the N3 every day. Given the high risks, commercial fleet operators need to seriously consider innovative means of raising awareness in our collective efforts to reduce road crashes and fatalities.

As part of the collective effort to stimulate practical road safety initiatives, JC Auditors (JCA) has made a free “Easter Safety Basket” poster available to prompt commercial fleets to start taking steps to promote safe driving. The poster which can be shared with drivers may be downloaded from JC Auditors. “By working together and taking little steps, we must believe that, despite our poor road safety record, we can make a difference!” concludes Naidoo.

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