Azevêdo launches new WTO Facility [Photo: WTO]

Azevêdo launches new WTO Facility [Photo: WTO]

A new initiative unveiled at the WTO on 22 July 2014 will help developing countries and least-developed countries reap the benefits of the WTO’s new Trade Facilitation Agreement, which was agreed at the Bali Ministerial Conference in December 2013.

The new Facility will complement existing efforts by regional and multilateral agencies, bilateral donors, and other stakeholders to provide Trade Facilitation-related technical assistance and capacity-building support. It will act as a focal point for implementation efforts. It will become operational when the protocol to insert the Trade Facilitation Agreement into the existing regulatory framework is adopted by WTO Members. The functions of the Facility will include:

  • supporting LDCs and developing countries to assess their specific needs and identify possible development partners to help them meet those needs
  • ensuring the best possible conditions for the flow of information between donors and recipients through the creation of an information sharing platform for demand and supply of Trade Facilitation-related technical assistance
  • disseminating best practice in implementation of Trade Facilitation measures
  • providing support to find sources of implementation assistance, including formally requesting the Director-General to act as a facilitator in securing funds for specific project implementation
  • providing grants for the preparation of projects in circumstances where a Member has identified a potential donor but has been unable to develop a project for that donor’s consideration, and is unable to find funding from other sources to support the preparation of a project proposal
  • providing project implementation grants related to the implementation of Trade Facilitation Agreement provisions in circumstances where attempts to attract funding from other sources have failed. These grants will be limited to “soft infrastructure” projects, such as modernization of customs laws through consulting services, in-country workshops, or training of officials.

South Africa, on the other hand has warned of the concerns of developing countries being sidelined under a global trade deal, adding to fears India and some African states may block the landmark Bali agreement. South African Minister for Trade and Industry further intimated that the country would have no difficulty in implementing the trade facilitation agreement but said it would “go along with” the decisions made by its allies within the WTO. Source: WTO

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china_mozTo date Chinese company Dingsheng International Investments has invested US$260 million of a total US$500 million to build infrastructure in the Manga-Mungassa Special Economic Zone, in Mozambique’s Sofala province.

Aiuba Cuereneia, Mozambique’s Minister for Planning and Development, says, “The investment was used to build basic infrastructure, including the power and water supply, roads, industrial warehouses and other facilities, as part of a project that includes construction of an administrative building, customs warehouses, and an exhibition area, as well as a hotel.”

“The infrastructure built in the Manga-Mungassa SEZ would play a crucial role in supporting manufacturing and trading companies that, in turn, would reduce the cost of the initial investment made by Dingsheng International.”

The Manga-Mungassa SEZ was set up following a July 2012 law and covers an area of 217 hectares, which may be increased to 1,000 hectares. Dingsheng International manages the SEZ. Source: macauhub

Losing-Business-On-Social-MediaOn March 13th, 2014, Sean Day, a Chicago-based wholesaler, called up the Italian branch of a leading global freight forwarder and requested a price quote for a door-to-door air freight shipment from a Rome-based apparel supplier, to his own warehouse in Chicago, IL. Within 37 minutes, he received pricing for two out of the three legs – from the Rome address to Rome’s airport, and from there to Chicago’s O’Hare airport. If that doesn’t impress you, consider that prompt price quotes for international freight shipments, are rather like four-leaf clovers. A spot quote in 37 minutes seemed too good to be true.

It was. Sean only received the final quote, including delivery to his Chicago address, four days later, on May 17th. Yes, four days.

Bear in mind that this was an air freight quote. Sean was willing to pay a substantial premium to fly his precious cargo by air, because he needed it urgently. What’s the point of splashing out on air freight, you might wonder, if you wait four days just for the price quote? Sean wondered the same thing.

At least he would have wondered, if he actually existed. In fact, our company, Freightos, created Sean, a fictional employee working at an imaginary company, as well as multiple whimsical competitors, in order to collect data on the sales process, and customer experience, of procuring international freight forwarding services. Over the course of two months, we requested dozens of air, ocean and ground quotes from five of the top fifteen freight forwarders in the world (after, of course, receiving permission from the companies). Each time, we identified ourselves as a new customer with potential for repeat business in the future.

Sean’s quoting experience was no exception. Due primarily to the archaic back-end systems so prevalent in the industry, and the lack of data sharing between fiefdoms, the average quote time was approximately 62 hours, with some quotes taking as long as a week. The quoting process was rife with other problems, ranging from vague quotations to blatant inaccuracies. In some freight forwarders, each office, or even individual sales staff, used their own price quote templates. Many forwarders had inactive contact numbers on their website. Worst of all, a staggering 43% of quote requests were simply ignored. Some way to capture new customers!

If these quotes were frustrating for the customers, they were also expensive for the vendors. We estimate a person-hour went into each. In developed countries that’s about $40. And forwarders often do five quotes for every secured order. That’s $200 wasted. For a smallish spot order, $200 is the entire profit! Click here to continue reading the full article… Source: LloydsLoading.com

Tulli+KokkolaFinnish customs has intercepted a shipment of arms on its way to Ukraine, it said on Friday, with a Finnish newspaper saying it consisted of missile system parts.

The customs said it had stopped a shipment of “defense materials” at the Helsinki Airport in late June. Daily Helsingin Sanomat said the air cargo consisted of a large number of parts used to steer missiles.

“They were defense materials on the way to Ukraine,” Sami Rakshit, head of enforcement at Finnish customs told Reuters. “They did not have the required permits.”

The air shipment was only passing through Helsinki airport when the customs discovered it, the daily said. The newspaper did not know the country of origin of the shipment, saying it came from the Far East. Customs would not comment.

The customs is investigating who the intended recipient in Ukraine was, Rakshit said

Finnish military is aiding customs in investigating the exact use for the parts of the missile system.Source: Reuters (contributed by Zarina Taylor)

Earlier this year Reuters featured a series of excellent photographs by Singapore-based photographer Edgar Su, who spent time documenting working life in and around the Port of Singapore. Connected to more than 600 ports in some 120 countries, Singapore is one of the world’s busiest shipping hubs, and is often called the gateway to Asia. It plans to increase its total capacity dramatically as it competes with other massive ports in the region such as Shanghai, Hong Kong and Shenzhen in China and Busan in South Korea. Source: Reuters

India, China, US [Picture: www.wespeaknews.com]

India, China, US [Picture: http://www.wespeaknews.com

The World Trade Organization agreed on Monday this week to side with claims against the United States made by both China and India concerning US-imposed tariffs on products exported to America.

In both instances, the WTO ruled against the US and decided in favor of the major BRICs countries, who for two years now have each asked the organization to intervene and weigh in on America’s use of tariffs to tax certain imports dating back to 2007.

With regards to both cases, the WTO’s judges ruled that the US acted “inconsistent with its agreement on subsidies and countervailing duties,” or taxes imposed on goods sold by “public bodies.”

In China, the panel agreed, US officials improperly levied those taxes against state-owned enterprises that the WTO does not consider to be “public bodies.” Instead, the WTO said, those entities were majority-owned by the Chinese government, but did not perform “government function” or exercise “government authority,” according to the Financial Times. With respect to India, the WTO again agreed that the US was wrong to similarly treat state-owned National Mineral Development Corporation as a public body, according to the International Business Times.

At issue were billions of dollars’ worth of Chinese steel products, solar panels, aluminum, paper and other goods shipped to the US after being taxed as originating from public bodies. The panel’s decision, Reuters reported, “reflected a widespread concern in the 160-member WTO over what many see as illegal U.S. protection of its own producers.”

“China urges the United States to respect the WTO rulings and correct its wrongdoings of abusively using trade remedy measures, and to ensure an environment of fair competition for Chinese enterprises,” China’s commerce ministry said in a statement.

Mike Froman, the US trade representative, responded by saying Washington was “carefully evaluating its options, and will take all appropriate steps to ensure that US remedies against unfair subsidies remain strong and effective”.

Nevertheless, Froman added that the WTO’s ruling in the Indian case constituted at least a partial victory for the US.

“The panel’s findings rejecting most of India’s numerous challenges to our laws and determinations is a significant victory for the United States and for the (US) workers and businesses making these steep products,” he told Reuters. Source: Russia Today.

5_triple-eFormer Head of Germanischer Lloyd and one of the first in the world to predict the arrival of 18,000 TEU ships, anticipates that container ships will eventually exceed 400m in length and will go beyond 19,000 TEU. “There is no technical limitation,” said Dr. Klein . But first, the ports need to be ready to handle the next generation of container ships. Although ship designers have been talking about vessels with a capacity up to 24,000 TEU, indications are that shipping lines were not looking beyond 19,000 TEU vessels as at present.

According to Ocean Shipping Consultants (OSC), a British firm of shipping consultants, preparations for 24,000-TEU sized ships are already underway and the first could be on the building blocks as early as 2016. Ships of this capacity, which is 5,000 TEU bigger than the Triple-E class, would be 430m in length and 62m in width but with a draught not exceeding 16m. OSC says that technical feasibility studies show that at-sea costs for a 24,000 TEU vessel would be 23.1% lower than that of a 12,500 TEU vessel and 17.4% lower than that of a 16,000 TEU vessel.

As reported by Ports & Ships, the appearance of these supersized ships will herald a surge in transshipment activity, which will have a detrimental effect on port terminal operators and ports alike which would have to cope with sudden increases in container activity. This would compound onto road and rail activity as well, placing further burdens on already creaking logistical systems. According to Transnet capital projects Marc Descoins, project director for the new Durban Dig Out Port, calculations that include ships of up to 22,000-TEU capacity have been factored in.

“Ships of this capacity won’t immediately be coming to South African ports,” he told Ports & Ships this week, adding that in consultation with Drewry, Transnet was advised that eventually the Triple-E class would cascade down onto North-South routes and that it would be wise to factor these in. “Our planning includes the likelihood that eventually ships of up to 22,000-TEU can be expected, so the new port will cater for this.”

Further afield – Remote-controlled ships: Can they be the future? Visualise a cargo ship with no crew and no bridge, operated remotely by a captain from a cabin on dry land. It could happen within a decade, believes the Vice President of Innovation in Marine Engineering and Technology at Rolls-Royce Holdings LLC. The technology solutions aren’t in place yet, but all the pieces are there. It is a matter of developing the technology and putting it together into systems. Rolls-Royce has been working on designs for remote-controlled cargo vessels as a first step toward overcoming widespread industry scepticism.

The European Union is funding a $ 4.8 million research project to study the feasibility of a ship operating autonomously until it nears port and a crew is taken aboard. The project, Maritime Unmanned Navigation through Intelligence in Networks, has the acronym MUNIN. In Nordic mythology, Munin was the raven sent out daily to fly around the world to gather information or the God Odin. For now though, remote-controlled cargo ships remain for beyond the horizon, unmanned ships may be technically possible, but they don’t fit a legal and regulatory environment that’s taken centuries to develop and would take years to change. Source: Ports & Ships and the Financial Times

OMD_7760The WCO Council, at its 123rd/124th Sessions in June 2014, adopted a Recommendation that lists recommended amendments to the Harmonized System (HS) nomenclature which will enter into force on 1 January 2017 (HS 2017).

This Recommendation is being promulgated under the provisions of Article 16 of the HS Convention, which implies that HS Contracting Parties now have six months to notify the WCO Secretariat of an objection to a recommended amendment.

Since the entry into force of the current version of the HS (HS 2012), the HS Committee has been revising this version of the HS nomenclature for almost five years. HS 2017 will be the sixth version of the HS since the Convention entered into force in 1983. HS 2017 will enter into force for all HS Contracting Parties, but will exclude any amendments objected to during the six month timeframe.

The new version of the HS includes 234 sets of amendments. Environmental and social issues are a major feature of these amendments, due to the importance of the HS as a global tool for collecting trade statistics and monitoring trade. This is borne out by the fact that the HS Convention currently has 150 Contracting Parties, making it the WCO’s most successful international instrument to date.

The majority of the recommended amendments were broached by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO):

  • Amendments relating to fish and fishery products are aimed at further enhancing the coverage of species and product forms which need to be monitored for food security purposes, and the better management of resources.
  • Amendments relating to crustaceans, molluscs and other invertebrates are motivated by the importance of the trade in and consumption of these species in their various product forms.
  • Amendments relating to cuttlefish and squid enlarge the coverage of the present HS codes for these species, in order to have all these species grouped together.

The classification of forestry products has also been modified, in order to enhance the coverage of wood species and get a better picture of trade patterns. The modification will enable trade data on tropical wood to be identified, resulting in better statistics on the trade in tropical wood and better data on the use of non-tropical hardwoods. In addition, the amendments include new subheadings for the monitoring and control of certain bamboo and rattan products.

Furthermore, HS 2017 amendments aim to provide detailed information on several categories of products that are used as antimalarial commodities. This will facilitate classification work, and the trade in these life-saving products.

The amendments also introduce specific subheadings to facilitate the collection and comparison of data on the international movement of certain substances controlled under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

New subheadings have also been created for a number of hazardous chemicals controlled under the Rotterdam Convention and for certain persistent organic pollutants (POPs) controlled under the Stockholm Convention. In some cases, there is a confluence of control regimes for chemicals by both the Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions.

In addition, new subheadings have been created for the monitoring and control of pharmaceutical preparations containing ephedrine, pseudoephedrine or norephedrine, and for alpha-phenylacetoacetonitrile (APAAN), a pre-precursor for drugs.

Other amendments resulted from changes in international trade patterns. Headings 69.07 (unglazed ceramic products) and 69.08 (glazed ceramic products) were merged to take account of the fact that the main subheadings within these headings concern products which are essentially no longer manufactured, and the industry and trade no longer make a distinction between unglazed and glazed ceramic products, whilst new products with a very high trade volume are classified under subheadings 6907.90 and 6908.90 (“Other”).

Furthermore, for purposes of adapting the HS to current trade practices, certain important products will be separately identified in either existing or new subheadings.

Advances in technology are also reflected in the amendments, inter alia, the size criteria for newsprint, light-emitting diode (LED) lamps, multi-component integrated circuits (MCOs), and hybrid, plug-in hybrid and all-electric vehicles.

Finally, the HS 2017 Recommendation includes amendments to clarify texts to ensure uniform application of the nomenclature. For example, the regrouping of monopods, bipods, tripods and similar articles in a new heading, namely 96.20. Source: The WCO

Rapiscan M60Rapiscan Systems has launched the new Driverless Eagle M60 cargo inspection system. It is a fully-automated vehicle screening system which can operate without the need of a driver and has been specifically designed to assist customs and border personnel in their detection of nuclear materials, explosives, weapons and contraband such as tobacco, alcohol and currency in trucks, cargo and containers.

Rapiscan’s driverless system requires no driver to be present during scanning, which the company says eradicates driver fatigue and driver work-shift changes; improves inspection rates and vehicle throughput; and removes risks associated with lone workers, health and safety incidents and potential human error. It can be driven on the road like a standard vehicle, allowing the unit to move between locations quickly and easily as required.

Once moved into position via a remote steering system, the M60 automatically detects two positional sensors — one placed at either end of the scan location. The positional sensors can be placed as far as 35 meters apart, allowing for oversized cargo or multiple units to be scanned in one pass.

As the scanning commences, additional sensors on the M60 make minor adjustments to the direction and position of the vehicle which ensures it consistently drives in a straight line between the two positional sensors. The system is designed not to deviate by more than 25mm from the center line.

The automated scan process is then monitored by a system operator who is housed in the M60’s onboard inspector’s office. This operator views the high resolution X-ray images produced by the system in real time.

Rapiscan was recently awarded two lucrative contracts for its vehicle and cargo inspection systems. On May 13, the company announced a $15 million order from an undisclosed Middle East customer. The order is for multiple Rapiscan Eagle M60 mobile inspection units, which the Driverless Eagle 360 is based on. This was followed by a $13 million order for an undisclosed “international customer,” again for Eagle inspection systems.

Rapiscan’s Eagle cargo and vehicle inspection systems are used by customs agencies, military organizations and homeland security operatives around the world. Eagle cargo and vehicle inspection systems use proprietary transmission X-ray technology that is able to penetrate well beyond the surface of a container or vehicle to provide comprehensive detection of threats.

A short film demonstrating the Driverless Eagle M60 in action can be seen here.

Customs Duty ActThe Customs Duty Act, 2014 (Act No. 30 of 2014) was published in Gazette 37821 today and a copy thereof is available on the SARS Website at the following hyperlink – Acts Administered by the Commissioner.

The purpose of this Act is to provide for the imposition, assessment, payment and recovery of customs duties on goods imported or exported from the Republic; and for matters incidental thereto.

Take note that this Act is not in force as yet.It will come into operation the date that the proposed Customs Control Act (still to be published) takes effect, as indicated in section 229. That date will be announced by the President by Proclamation in the Gazette. The implementation will occur when SARS and the industries are ready, which means that the relevant rules and processes need to be in place. Source: SARS

Winning Entry 2014 - Iceland Customs - Fifty Years of Change (WCO)

Winning Entry 2014 – Iceland Customs – Fifty Years of Change (WCO)

This years entries are a combination of photography and poster themes. Please click this link to view an e-book of all the entries. Congratulations to Customs Iceland for their winning entry titled -”Fifty Years of Change”. Source: WCO

flags2African countries are coming under strong pressure from the United States and the European Union to reverse the decision adopted by their trade ministers to implement the World Trade Organization’s trade facilitation agreement on a “provisional” basis.

At last week’s summit of African Union leaders in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, “there was unprecedented [U.S. and European Union] pressure and bulldozing to change the decision reached by the African trade ministers on April 27 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to implement the trade facilitation (TF) agreement on a provisional basis under paragraph 47 of the Doha Declaration,” Ambassador Nelson Ndirangu, director for economics and external trade in the Kenyan Foreign Ministry, told IPS.

“This pressure comes only when the issues and interests of rich countries are involved but not when the concerns of the poorest countries are to be addressed,” Ambassador Ndirangu said.

“Clearly, there are double-standards,” the senior Kenyan trade official added, lamenting the pressure and arm-twisting that was applied on African countries for definitive implementation of the agreement.

The TF agreement was concluded at the WTO’s ninth ministerial conference in Bali, Indonesia, last year. It was taken out of the Doha Development Agenda as a low-hanging fruit ready for consummation. More importantly, the agreement was a payment to the United States and the European Union to return to the Doha negotiating table.

The ambitious TF agreement is aimed at harmonising customs rules and regulations as followed in the industrialised countries. It ensures unimpeded market access for companies such as Apple, General Electric, Caterpillar, Pfizer, Samsung, Sony, Ericsson, Nokia, Hyundai, Toyota and Lenovo in developing and poor countries.

Former WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy has suggested that the TF agreement would reduce tariffs by 10 percent in the poorest countries.

In return for the agreement, developing and least-developed countries were promised several best endeavour outcomes in the Bali package on agriculture and development.

They include general services (such as land rehabilitation, soil conservation and resource management, drought management and flood control), public stockholding for food security, an understanding on tariff rate quota administration, export subsidies, and phasing out of trade-distorting cotton subsidies (provided largely by the United States) in agriculture.

The non-binding developmental outcomes include preferential rules of origin for the export of industrial goods by the poorest countries, a special waiver to help services suppliers in the poorest countries, duty-free and quota-free market access for least developed countries (LDCs), and a monitoring mechanism for special and differential treatment flexibilities.

African countries were unhappy with the Bali package because they said it lacked balance and was tilted heavily in favour of the TF agreement forced by the industrialised countries on the poor nations.

The Bali outcomes, said African Union Trade Commissioner Fatima Acyl, “were not the most optimal decisions in terms of African interests … We have to reflect and learn from the lessons of Bali on how we can ensure that our interests and priorities are adequately addressed in the post-Bali negotiations.”

The African ministers in Malabo directed their negotiators to propose language on the Protocol of Amendment – the legal instrument that will bring the TF agreement into force at the WTO – that the TF agreement will be provisionally implemented and in completion of the entire Doha Round of negotiation.

African countries justify their proposal on the basis of paragraph 47 of the Doha Declaration which enables WTO members to implement agreement either on a provisional or definitive basis.

The African position on the TF agreement was not acceptable to the rich countries. In a furious response, the industrialised countries adopted a belligerent approach involving threats to terminate preferential access.

The United States, for example, threatened African countries that it would terminate the preferential access provided under the Africa Growth Opportunities Act (AGOA) programme if they did not reverse their decision on the TF, said a senior African trade official from Southern Africa.

The WTO has also joined the wave of protests launched by the industrialised countries against the African decision for deciding to implement the TF on a provisional basis. “I am aware that there are concerns about actions on the part of some delegations [African countries] which could compromise what was negotiated in Bali last December,” WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said, at a meeting of the informal trade negotiations committee on June 25.

The African decision, according to Azevedo, “would not only compromise the Trade Facilitation Agreement – including the technical assistance element. All of the Bali decisions – every single one of them – would be compromised,” he said.

The United States agreed with Azevedo’s assessment of the potential danger of unravelling the TF agreement, and the European Union’s trade envoy to the WTO, Ambassador Angelos Pangratis, said that “the credibility of the negotiating function of this organisation is once again at stake” because of the African decision.

The United States and the European Union stepped up their pressure by sending security officials to Malabo to oversee the debate, said another African official. He called it an “unprecedented power game rarely witnessed at an African heads of nations meeting.”

In the face of the strong-arm tactics, several African countries such as Nigeria and Mauritius refused to join the ministerial consensus to implement the TF agreement on a provisional basis. Several other African countries subsequently retracted their support for the declaration agreed to in April.

In a nutshell, African Union leaders were forced to change their course by adopting a new decision which “reaffirms commitment to the Doha Development Agenda and to its rapid completion in accordance with its development objectives.”

The African Union “also reaffirms its commitment to all the decisions the Ministers took in Bali which are an important stepping stone towards the conclusion of the Doha Round … To this end, leaders acknowledge that the Trade Facilitation Agreement is an integral part of the process.”

Regarding capacity-building assistance to developing countries to help them implement the binding TF commitments, African Union countries still want to see up-front delivery of assistance. The new decision states that African Union leaders “reiterate in this regard that assistance and support for capacity-building should be provided as envisaged in the Trade Facilitation Agreement in a predictable manner so as to enable African economies to acquire the necessary capacity for the implementation of the agreement.”

The decision taken by the African leaders is clearly aimed at implementing the TF decision, but there is no clarity yet on how to implement the decision, said Ndirangu. “We never said we will not implement the TF agreement but we don’t know how to implement this agreement,” he added.

In an attempt to ensure that the rich countries do not walk away with their prized jewel in the Doha crown by not addressing the remaining developmental issues, several countries – South Africa, India, Uganda, Tanzania, Solomon Islands and Zimbabwe – demanded Wednesday that there has to be a clear linkage between the implementation of the TF agreement and the rest of the Doha Development Agenda on the basis of the Single Undertaking, which stipulates that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed!

More than 180 days after the Bali meeting, there is no measurable progress on the issues raised by the poor countries. But the TF agreement is on course for final implementation by the end of 2015. Source: Inter Press Service

AGOA_W1Swaziland has lost its preferential trading status with the United States. US President Barack Obama announced (26 June 2014) that the kingdom would lose its benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

He said this was because Swaziland was not ‘making continual progress’ in enacting civil, political and workers’ rights.

Swaziland is not a democracy and is ruled by King Mswati III, who is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch.

The decision to withdraw Swaziland’s AGOA eligibility comes after years of engaging with the Government of the Kingdom of Swaziland on concerns about its implementation of the AGOA eligibility criteria related to worker rights. The statement said after an ‘extensive review’ the US, ‘concluded that Swaziland had not demonstrated progress on the protection of internationally recognized worker rights.

In particular, Swaziland has failed to make continual progress in protecting freedom of association and the right to organize. Of particular concern is Swaziland’s use of security forces and arbitrary arrests to stifle peaceful demonstrations, and the lack of legal recognition for labor and employer federations.

AGOA is a US preferential trade programme that provides duty-free access to the $3 trillion US market for thousands of products from eligible sub-Saharan African countries.

Media in Swaziland have predicted that as many as 20,000 jobs in the kingdom’s textile industry could be lost as a result of the withdrawal of AGOA benefits that comes into force on 1 January 2015. The textile industry in Swaziland is dominated by Taiwanese companies which were drawn to the kingdom by the availability of cheap labour and the AGOA agreement. Source: Swazi Media Commentary

Workers putting the final touches to the entrance to the Botswana dry port. [Photo - Floris Stenkamp]

Workers putting the final touches to the entrance to the Botswana dry port. [Photo - Floris Stenkamp]

The Botswana dry port in Walvis Bay is expected to be operational this week, Botswana Railways’ Commercial Manager Mthulusi Lotshe said last week. The dry port will cost N$60 million.

The Botswana dry port is constructed on land owned by NamPort. The facility would be used exclusively by Botswana Railways for handling both containerised and non-containerised cargoes for import and export to, or originating from this eastern neighbouring country.

Lotshe made the announcement during the Trans Kalahari Corridor (TKC) information session hosted by the Trans-Kalahari Corridor secretariat in Windhoek.

He said the objective of the dry port is to consolidate maritime goods into inter modal and long distance transport flows.

“The other objectives of the dry port include improving cargo processing through coordinated operations; facilitating collection and distribution of local, regional and international transport; and integrating Botswana and the Southern African Development Community region with the Walvis Bay port,” Lotshe said.

He said the port aims to strengthen multi-modal solutions and create opportunities for new services, as well as reduce total transport and logistics costs and journey time. Source: The Namibian

Mini Z, the handheld technology from American Science and Engineering (AS&E), has been designed to offer port security officials an innovative new tool to combat contraband and illicit substances on ships.

Hailed as the world’s first handheld Z backscatter imaging system, the Mini Z aims to provide security officials with the ability to screen ‘the hulls and bulkheads of suspected drug-running boats for contraband or narcotics’, according to a company press release.

The Mini Z boasts the ability to scan in places that other systems cannot reach, while being easy-to-use and offering advanced X-ray imaging to present a real-time picture of ship and vehicle contents.

The Mini Z system is a game-changer for law enforcement and border security officials who are constantly challenged to quickly and accurately detect potential threats in hard-to-reach environments.

For an interactive introduction to the MINI Z, click here

Source: AS&E