Archives For Cargo

141212174829-yixinou-worlds-longest-train-journey-horizontal-large-galleryThe longest rail link in the world and the first direct link between China and Spain is up and running after a train from Yiwu in coastal China completed its maiden journey of 8,111 miles to Madrid. En route it passed through Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany and France before arriving at the Abroñigal freight terminal in Madrid.

The railway has been dubbed the “21st-century Silk Road” by Li Qiang, the governor of Zhejiang province, where Yiwu is located. Its route is longer than the Trans-Siberian railway and the Orient Express. The first train was met by the mayor of Madrid, Ana Botella, and Spain’s minister of public works, Ana Pastor. It consisted of 30 containers carrying 1,400 tonnes of cargo – mostly toys, stationery and other items for sale over Christmas across Europe.

Yiwu is the world’s largest wholesale hub for small consumer goods and plays host to a vast 4 sq km (1.5 sq mile) market where tens of thousands of traders work daily. The journey was a test run to assess the viability of adding Spain to a route that already links China with Germany five times a week. Those trains link Chongqing, the huge industrial city in south-west China, with Duisburg, and Beijing with Hamburg.

China is Spain’s biggest trading partner after the EU, with bilateral trade worth around £16bn. It is also Spain’s third largest source of imports, after Germany and France. About half of these imports are made up of mobile phones and clothing. The Spanish prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, was in China in September, where he signed deals reported to be worth more than £6.3bn.

A major advantage of the rail route is speed. The train took just three weeks to complete a journey that takes up to six weeks by sea. It is also more environmentally friendly than road transport, which would produce 114 tonnes of CO2 to shift the same volume of goods, compared with the 44 tonnes produced by the train – a 62% reduction.

However, the cargo had to be transferred three times during the journey as a result of incompatible rail gauges. The locomotive also had to be changed every 500 miles. The service is being operated by InterRail Services and DB Schenker Rail and in Spain by DB’s Spanish offshoot, Tranfesa.

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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.

Cargo seal inspection - (Picture: www.recolor.com)

Cargo seal inspection – (Picture: http://www.recolor.com)

Finland – Recent criminal proceedings in which a driver was accused of neglecting to control the cargo security of a trailer which he had picked up from the port of Vuosaari, have been set aside by the Helsinki Appeal Court. When Customs conducted a safety inspection of the cargo, it was found that the cargo had not been secured properly. It was undisputed that the insufficient securing of the cargo could not be seen from outside, and that the driver had checked the trailer, but the trailer had been sealed with the transport company’s seal.

The court first considered whether the transport company’s commercial seal overruled the duty to carry out a cargo safety check. The expert witness testified before the Helsinki District Court that according to the Road Traffic Act, a ‘seal’ is only an official Customs seal (subject to the TIR Convention), and that the term does not include the commercial seals used by transport companies. However, the district court found that a ‘seal’ is not defined in the Road Traffic Act or its preparatory work, and the term thus includes commercial seals. It went on to determine whether checking the cargo could have caused unreasonable harm or delay. The driver stated that pursuant to the employer’s instructions, a cargo unit must never be opened alone; two people must always be present. The district court found that it was not proved that opening the trailer would not have caused unreasonable harm or delay to the transport assignment, and hence the driver had done his best. The criminal charges against the driver were rejected.

The proceedings before the Helsinki Appeal Court were limited to the first question – the definition of the seal. The appeal court found no reason to change the district court’s judgment. The appeal court judgment is final. It is quite common that a driver is assigned to pick up a transport unit which is already loaded, secured and, on many occasions, also sealed. Under these circumstances the driver has no means to carry out cargo safety checks from anywhere other than outside of the transport unit. Source: International Law Office & Hammarström Puhakka Partners, Attorneys (Finland)

 

CINS Cargo Incident Visual GraphicPoor or incorrect packing accounts for 37 per cent of cargo incidents in the supply chain, according to data released by the Cargo Incident Notification System (CINS).

And 24 per cent of incidents cases are due to mis-declaration of the cargo, it found. The organisation is managed by the Container Owners Association (COA), and was set up by members from five of the COA’s top 20 liner operators; CMA CGM, Evergreen Line, Hapag-Lloyd, Maersk Line and the Mediterranean Shipping Company.

It was created to capture key data, after an increase in incidents that regularly disrupt operations and endanger lives, property or the environment.

CINS’ analysis revealed that 80 per cent of substances involved in cargo incidents are dangerous goods, with half relating to leakage and a further quarter announced mis-declared.

It also showed that incidents relating to mis-declared cargo have increased significantly within the first four months of 2013, compared to the previous 18 months, which the company says has led it to aspire to identify ways to make the supply chain safer.

“We have identified that 24 per cent of all incidents involve mis-declaration and this is probably the first time that this ‘iceberg’ risk has been quantified, said Reinhard Schwede, chairman of CINS.

“Poor or incorrect packaging are persistent causes, accounting for almost 40 per cent of incidents over nearly two years. This is all the more concerning when we recognise that more than a third of the incidents involve corrosive cargoes, which by nature will react with other substances.

“With these findings, the CINS Organisation will engage with enforcement agencies, competent authorities and the IMO to gain support for the relevant changes to legislation or other safe practice recommendations.” Source: Container Owner Association

TT ClubThe TT Club, has called for higher levels of training to maintain and improve the expertise of those employed by shippers, consolidators, warehouses and depots to pack containers properly.

The insurance organisation said it is no surprise that the correct packing of containers is high on the agenda for industry bodies, regulators and insurers, as the consequences of unsafe and badly secured cargo are serious. According to freight transport insurer TT Club’s claims, some 65 per cent feature cargo loss or damage, of which over one-third result from poor packing.

It is timely that TT Club and Exis Technologies have come together to develop CTUpack e-learning, an online training tool for those involved in the loading and unloading of containers or Cargo Transport Units.

Designed and produced by Exis Technologies on the initiative of the TT Club, and with its financial investment, the CTUpack e-learning(tm) course is aligned with IMO/ILO/UN ECE guidelines for packing containers. Beginning with the foundation course, which will be launched later this year, it will comprise modules that include topics such as cargo or transport and elements equivalent to lessons, covering areas like forces and stresses.

In future the course will evolve to reflect developments and updates to the ILO guidelines and there is a capacity for additional modules to incorporate cargo specific and more advanced training elements. Source: Seanews.com

The fifth annual congress of the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF) takes place on 8-9 October 2013 at the Hilton, Sandton.

David Logan - SAAFF

David Logan – SAAFF

David Logan, CEO of SAAFF says, “The freight forwarding market has been a major beneficiary of an increasingly globalised world economy. The significant year-on-year growth in international trade volumes has driven the evolution of the freight forwarder, inherently linked to the success of global trade and the development of new markets.  Against this backdrop, it hardly seems surprising that the congress continues to grow and attract robust debate from key players in the market.  This year’s event also receives the endorsement and support of the South African Express Parcel Association (SAEPA), which represents the multi-billion Rand South African courier industry, another major role player in facilitating global business.”

“Having long-abandoned the image of transport intermediaries, today’s freight management logistics providers manage an array of complex functions and issues, being responsible for an entire array of services within the supply chain. The two-day congress will highlight and debate many of the pressing issues from customs modernization, security, piracy, supply chain efficiencies, trade credit, risk management, political risk, legislation, FAIS, economic trading factors, transformation, training and in-demand skills and more.”

“Our industry is also in a unique position to tap into the incredible growth currently shaping the African continent where some of the fastest growing economies reside.  Added to this the rapid reconstruction and development projects taking place throughout the continent will rely heavily on the services of freight forwarders.  Africa’s abundance of commodities is estimated to generate about a third of Africa’s growth.  All this requires trusted partners in the movement of goods to facilitate global trade, and the forwarders best positioned to capitalise on this are those that have robust infrastructures, global capability, solid expertise and a deep understanding of trade in African countries, which is not without its fair share of risk,” adds David.

“Global pressures on world markets are impacting on our members and the congress is an ideal platform to really get to grips with the realities and challenges of our current trading environment.  It’s an ideal platform for sponsors and suppliers to engage directly with the senior decision makers of freight forwarding companies, government, suppliers and policy makers,” he concludes.

Running alongside the congress will be a two-day industry supplier exhibition as well as a one day training and education workshop on Tues 8 October covering important issues regarding skills development, industry qualifications, talent management, training, BBBEEand more – all critical issues for HR managers and directors in the freight forwarding industry. For more information about the congress or to book your seats contact the congress organisers, Teresa Settas Communications on (011) 894 2767 or e-mail nadine@tscommunications.co.za. Source: transportworldafrica.co.za

sea_freight_trackingCargo traditionally sent by air is increasingly switching to sea as shippers capitalise on the mode’s lower transport costs – a trend expected to continue over the coming years.

Lloyds List reports that several leading freight forwarders reported in their full-year results that certain cargo types — particularly hi-tech and telecoms — switched from air freight to sea freight last year.

DHL Global Forwarding CEO Roger Crook said the switch was the result of a price difference of 10 times between the two modes of transport. He said: “Obviously many companies are under cost pressure and looking to reduce total supply chain costs. Therefore, they are buying and moving by ocean freight, and particularly it is happening in the technology sector.”

Panalpina chief operating officer Karl Weyeneth said he expected the trend to continue. “There is a maximum shift you can achieve, depending on what industry you are talking about,” he said.

“But I believe that now supply chains are used to working with more ocean freight, this impact will stay for at least a couple of years, until the economy has really recovered, then it will start to shift back again.”

“We really see this as an important factor in our market for the next two to three years.”

Kuehne+Nagel (KN) chief executive Reinhard Lange said the decision on whether cargo was suitable to be switched from air to sea partly came down to the weight of the shipment. He said that if two products had the same market value, but one weighed less than the other, the overall cost impact of flying was less for the lighter cargo because air cargo costs were based on weight. He said this explained why hi-tech products had transferred to ocean freight while lighter products, such as pharmaceuticals, had, in the main, continued to utilise air freight.

The forwarders said the impact of the switch from air to ocean freight was partly to blame for a decline in air freight volumes last year, while container volumes continued to grow. In its full-year results, Panalpina saw air freight volumes decline 6% last year while ocean freight volumes grew by the same amount. Meanwhile, DHL Global Forwarding’s air freight volumes slipped 5.3% in 2012 with ocean freight increasing 4.3%, while KN saw its air freight volumes grow by 2% while ocean freight increased 6% year on year. Source: LloydsList

BackhanderTwo Japanese freight forwarders have agreed to pay a total of $18.9 million in criminal fines for their role in a price-fixing scheme, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Over the course of at least five years, Yusen Logistics Co. and “K” Line Logistics Ltd. conspired to fix freight forwarding fees, including security fees and fuel surcharges, on air cargo shipments from Japan to the U.S., the Department of Justice (DOJ) said. The two are just the latest in a string of 16 freight forwarding companies that have agreed to plead guilty to price-fixing and pay criminal fines totaling more than $120 million.

“Consumers were forced to pay higher prices on the goods they buy every day as a result of the noncompetitive and collusive service fees charged by these companies,” Bill Baer, Assistant Attorney General of the DOJ’s Antitrust Division said in a statement. “Prosecuting these kinds of global, price-fixing conspiracies continues to be a top priority of the Antitrust Division.”

The DOJ seems to have been successful in pursuing that priority. In the 2012 fiscal year, the antitrust division collected a record-breaking $1.35 billion in criminal fines, nearly 60 percent of which came from Asia-Pacific-based companies. Source: Insidecounsel.com

Smiths Detection HCV Scanner setup routine (Picture credit - Mercator Media)

Smiths Detection HCV Scanner setup routine (Picture credit – Mercator Media)

Innovative technology for the non-intrusive inspection of cargo and vehicles has rapidly emerged over the last decade to become a significant factor in port and border protection and homeland security. Several hundred high-energy mobile and fixed-site X-ray inspection stations are deployed throughout the world to examine passenger cars, trucks, trains, and shipping containers that transport goods bound for international destinations. Behind the scenes, cargo screening technology continues to be a story of innovation and change, driven by keen competition and a common mission to improve global security.

Early cargo screening systems were relatively slow and expensive to operate. They produced a limited resolution single-energy X-ray image, often using an isotope source such as Cobalt-60. The imaging software was rudimentary, and limited to simple controls such as pan and zoom, while computer processing speeds significantly limited inspection throughput. By contrast, most systems today are accelerator-based, which allows for higher energies, faster operation, and more precise controls. These systems incorporate software that takes advantage of improved computing platforms and features increasingly sophisticated analytics – this power has paved the way for the use of dual-energy accelerator sources and advanced detectors to facilitate material discrimination, enabling inspectors to identify threat objects more quickly, based on their composition.

Future developments in cargo screening are likely to follow a common innovation trajectory that is fostered by market needs and new technology, while being strengthened by existing intellectual property and evolving industry standards. Innovation is often perceived as a circular path beginning with customer needs that are identified by a technology developer. The developer then creates application technology in the form of products to meet those needs. With numerous competitors in the market, suppliers are motivated to continually improve their products. However, a more nuanced understanding incorporates the role of component technologies and the core capabilities of the technology developer. Each of these constituents influence and are influenced by their respective technology and regulatory standards, which then ultimately impact the products available to the customer. For the full report with diagrams, Click Here!

Component technologies and their standards are often driven by the needs of other markets and may only be tangentially connected with the market of interest. Consequently, developers often have minimal influence on these technology standards but will benefit by leveraging the investments already made by other organizations. ‘Components’ may be subassemblies (such as a computer graphics card) or entirely separate systems (such as a cloud computing service) that can be incorporated into a screening system to provide a complete customer solution. System providers benefit from these parallel technologies and component standards because they provide innovative insights and functional capabilities, such as interoperability, interchangeability, and known performance characteristics. In the case of cargo screening, there are many component technologies that are potential sources of future innovation. A few notable examples are described later in the report.

Because cargo screening is a youthful market with changing customer requirements and technology that is evolving to meet those requirements, existing industry standards are still in flux. This is beneficial for the cargo screening industry in that it provides ample room for innovation and development. As cargo screening technology continues to evolve and mature, the community will develop consensus in more areas and create additional standards. However, the standards process is slow and seldom speaks to the most current technology issues in an industry. For example, material discrimination is an important new feature offered by many cargo screening systems, yet there is little guidance from current industry standards to assess the performance of this technology. Source: www.porttechnology.org

Creamer Media have published 2012 Road and Rail – a comprehensive review and insight into South Africa’s road and rail transport infrastructure and network. This should be a must read for any serious investor and comes at a price just shy of R 2000,00. 

For the much of the six-and-a-half decades from 1910, South Africa’s rail sector was carefully nurtured and handsomely resourced by successive administrations. Growing competition from road was kept at bay by tough regulatory practices that ensured rail freight of a virtual monopoly.

From the mid-1970s, however, rail’s pre-eminent position in South Africa began to come under scrutiny. A series of National Transport Policy Studies reviewed worldwide trends in transport deregulation. The findings reinforced a growing belief that an overprotected rail industry and an over-regulated road-freight sector were detrimental to the overall South African economy. This was undoubtedly true – but as often happens in these matters, in the following decades, and indeed, right up to the recent present, the stick was then bent excessively in the opposite direction.

The net result is that, on the freight side, rail has massively lost market share to road over the past 20 to 25 years. Road transport has been allowed to grow, but without the implementation of an effective road transport quality system. This imbalance in the modal split has been a key contributing factor to high direct logistics costs in the economy. The disproportionate shift of freight to road has had many other perverse and costly impacts – the road freight industry (unlike Transnet Freight Rail) does not directly carry the cost of building and maintaining the public infrastructure it uses and this has resulted in an increase in road construction and maintenance costs, deteriorating road conditions, congestion problems and road collisions.

This report investigates South Africa’s road and rail infrastructure, including the country’s road and rail networks, maintenance and the challenges facing the sector, among others. For details as to the content of the report please click here! Source: Creamer Media

Port Technology International (PTI) reported last month, a ground-breaking technological development from UK-based Inscentinel could change the future of security at ports. In a move that brings together nature and technology, bulk cargo screening could soon be carried out by an unlikely source – sniffer bees.

Freight forwarding companies screen 100 percent of all of their parcels. The first line of screening relies on X-rays followed by REST dogs for special items which cannot be screened. REST, stands for Remote Explosives Scent Tracing.

This works by sampling the air from the cargo through a specially designed filter. This filter, which can trap explosives molecules, is then presented to the most accurate explosives detector ever – dogs. This method has proven very effective to exploit the accuracy of dogs while maximizing the throughput volume of screening, which a free-running dog cannot otherwise do.

According to the information found on the website of Diagnose, a subsidiary of ICTS: ‘The technique has screened over 100,000 trucks and pallets and over 1.5 million metric tons of air cargo since live operations began in the UK and France. The RASCargO™ technique was specially developed to serve the mass screening cargo market that requires a solution for screening high volumes of dense cargo, with actually, no cargo size limitation, a solution that combines high detection rate with cost effectiveness.’ Read the full report as published in PTI here!

Inscentinel’s latest video, below, shows how the company has devised an ingenious way of using the insect in the cargo screening process. 

Here follows an article, published by Dr. James Giermanski, an internationally renowned expert in container and supply chain security, international transportation and trade issues. It deals with a crucial but mostly forgotten/unknown aspect of international supply chains – who packed the cargo?

Tracking, tracing, and custody are all generally accepted concepts involving the control of movement. All these concepts have in their fundamental cognitive structure the idea of path, corridor, multiple parts, flow, and coordination.

However, what is often omitted or overlooked is the fundamental sine qua non core principle of “beginning”. What is the beginning of a chain of custody? This article focuses on this core concept and the role it plays as the beginning of the connective custody and control process. Specifically, it addresses the significance of cargo stuffing, the concept of authorized or trusted agent, the means of connectivity, the legal role of the authorized agent, and the consequences of a connected and visible supply chain.

Cargo stuffing

Establishing and maintaining cargo integrity begins with stuffing the container at origin. A chain of custody – chronological documentation or paper trail – involves “the movement and location of physical evidence from the time it is obtained until the time it is presented in court.” As in a criminal case comparison, a supply chain “chain of custody” needs three types of essential assertions:

  1. That the cargo is what it purports to be and in the quantity stated;
  2. That the cargo was in the continuous possession or control by the carrier who took charge of the cargo from the time it was loaded in the container at origin until the time it is delivered at final destination; and
  3. That there is evidence of the identify of each person or entity who had access to it during its movement, and that the cargo remained in the same condition from the moment it was sealed in the container for transfer to the carrier that controlled possession until the moment it released the cargo into the receipted custody of another.
Trusted partner

It is imperative that the initial point of a connectivity process begins at the beginning! Loading cannot take place without a human agent. The agent could be the company’s forklift driver, the dispatcher, the loading dock supervisor, or even an authorizing manager who has a specific duty to verify the cargo and its quantity. It could even be a third party hired by the shipper, for instance, companies that currently provide inspection services around the world.

Various Customs programs discuss, in one way or the other, the concept that supply chain security begins at “stuffing”: the Secure Export Scheme Program (New Zealand); the Partners in Protection Program (Canada); the Golden List Program (Jordan); the Authorized Economic Operator Program (Japan); the Authorized Economic Operator Program (Korea); the Secure Trade Partnership Plus Program (Singapore); and the Authorized Economic Operator.

Establishing ‘connectivity’

Maintaining connectivity depends on the security program, software and hardware utilized. While no system is 100% effective, and one cannot depend on technology alone, there are ‘off-the-shelf’ container security devices (CSDs) that provide connectivity through a sophisticated, comprehensive chain of custody system that begins with loading the container at origin, monitoring it, and reporting on its integrity at the end of the global supply chain path, i.e. at final destination.

CSDs can include the identity of the trusted agent verifying the cargo at loading and the agent’s counterpart at destination. Both parties are electronically connected by a unique identifier to the smart container system along with bill of lading or booking information, or data needed by Customs authorities. Therefore, when the CSD is activated, the accountable party becomes the initiating element in the smart container security system.

Consequences of chain of custody – standards, laws and litigation

If a smart container is opened at destination by an equally accountable person and cargo is missing, and there were no breaches detected, recorded or reported, the accountable person at origin can face either disciplinary, or worse, criminal action by appropriate authorities.

This ESI becomes a source of evidence, should legal action follow. The concept of custody and control from origin to destination also supports Incoterms 2010, a publication of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) which provides the playbook of international rules involving international sales of goods. These new terms now contain security requirements for the shipper, making a chain of custody system essential for compliance. There are also changes coming for shippers, consignees, and vessel carriers with respect to carriage of goods by sea: the new Rotterdam Rules.

According to the UN General Assembly, the Rotterdam Rules are a “…uniform and modern global legal regime governing the rights and obligations of stakeholders in the maritime transport industry under a single contract for door-to-door carriage” (cf. American Shipper). The new door-to-door liability places the vessel carrier directly in a chain of custody. Instead of the vessel carrier filing what the shipper said is in the container, the vessel carrier will be automatically and really responsible for knowing what is in the container.

What are the benefits?

The shipper, the consignee, the carrier, and control and regulatory authorities all benefit from a chain of custody system that begins with the loading of the container at origin. CSDs incorporating the identity of the trusted agent at stuffing would assist law enforcement officials to comply with international security and trade standards, solve transhipment problems, impair illegal access to the cargo conveyance, improve supply chain efficiencies, aid in securing hazardous materials and other dangerous cargo movement, reduce counterfeiting, eliminate the in-bond problem of unauthorized container access, and improve bottom line revenue generation for the firms using them. Source: Supply Chain Digest.

The following piece suggests that the realisation of AEO obligations on shippers is real and will be augmented by support systems that may marginalise the highly competitive freight forwarding industry.  While there is a suggestion of cost savings due to non-reliance of shippers on traditional forwarding agents, I believe this is a short-sited view as the ‘real challenge’ lies in whether or not shippers are up to the task in meeting these obligations given their unfamiliarity with customs and transport requirements. I see many shippers having to recruit experienced customs and forwarding experts to maximise their compliance given the burgeoning obligations materializing in international shipping!

In October 2011, Aircargoshop an online booking portal provided shippers the possibility to book their own airfreight without involvement of the traditional shipping agent via the online portal Aircargoshop. This is a development that might have important consequences for the closed airfreight industry. As a consequence the online booking portal offers a lower-priced, more efficient and more transparent process for aircargo booking.

Founder Paul Parramore of Rhenus Logistics suggests that this system will bring down the cost of airfreight by as much as 50%. The Dutch Shipping Council EVO, gave the system the thumbs up and said that it will revolutionise the manner in which the freight business is currently being conducted.

Joost van Doesburg, a consultant with EVO said that in the long run restructuring of the industry is necessary in order to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Many of the forwarders will lose out, but the system is geared towards cost effectiveness and being competitive. He also added that if the forwarder is to add value to the supply chain, then he has to comply to adapting to the system rather than working against it.

On the home front, a recent article featured on the website Freight into Africa reports that the South African Cross Border Transporters Association (SACBTA) will be introducing a similar system which is currently under development for the cross border road freight industry. It will be called “ROAFEonline” or shortened form of Road Freight online which will allow the customer to book directly his freight with accredited SACBTA members hence cutting out the middleman and brokers.

All payments can and will be done online and this system will integrate with SARS EDI (Would like to hear more on this!). The consignor will only have to ensure that his goods are loaded onto the truck, the rest will be done by the system. The cost per transaction to the customer will be a paltry R100.00 in relation to a few thousand Rands normally swallowed up by the middlemen.

Based on our estimations a regular consignor can save up to R3-5 million Rands per annum which hopefully will be passed onto the consumer. With the looming integration of the SADC countries towards one stop clearing, it makes sense to further integrate the system. So whether you are in Dar es Salaam or Lubumbashi, you can now book your freight from Cape Town without having to go through a string of brokers. You also have the assurance that your cargo will be loaded by an accredited SACBTA transporter who complies to the standards set out by SACBTA. It will facilitate consolidations as any accredited transporter will at any given time be able to see what cargo is available. If Transporter A has only 20 tons, he can check which other transporter on the system has another 8 tons to Dar es Salaam for example. The transporters can then consolidate a load on the system which will happen in a shorter period of time than say for instance waiting a month to fill a tri axle.

This system will have many other functionalities that have been incorporated like online tracking, bar coding, which will give the consignor and consignee piece of mind knowing at any given time where their cargo is. It will also be accessible to border agents and customs officials who will be in a position to extract vital information on any consignment long before it actually gets to a border.

The system will go into testing around March of this year and if all goes well should be ready for implementation by the latter part of 2012 or early 2013. We hope that this will go a long way towards restructuring the industry for the better. It has long been the desire of SACBTA to allow industry players to come on board to create a better industry. However, there has been very little interest shown in transforming the industry and we feel this system will by virtue of its nature, transform the industry whether industry players are willing participants or not. Source: Freight into Africa and various own sources.

TT Club, the international transport liability insurer, is warning that freight forwarders and other transport intermediaries face increasingly significant liability risk, particularly in emerging markets, as they take on additional supply chain services for their customers. TT Club specialises in the insurance of liabilities and equipment for multi-modal operators.

Traditional freight forwarders, who have seen the opportunity to offer extended warehousing, packaging, delivery fulfilment and even purchasing functions for shippers are not always fully aware of the liabilities for cargo loss and third-party damages that these additional tasks are opening them up to, according to Andrew Kemp, European regional director of the TT Club.

He told the Cargo and Freight Insurance Annual Conference in Moscow that as supply chains continue to develop to supply emerging markets, where the cargo owners are not always willing to invest in distribution infrastructure, the out-sourcing of such tasks will proliferate.

This could bring significant new business opportunities to companies, which had previously limited their service offerings to freight forwarding and the organisation of international transport, but these additional procedures could be complex.

“A typical new type of activity would be the packaging, for the local retail market of an item with a sales promotion attached (price discount or two for one offer). This task is straightforward in itself but brings with it risks of errors and possible damage to the items. This would be something not experienced by transport operators in the past,” he said. Source: Logisticsmanager.com

Mystery BoxThe November 2011 edition of Wired.com (magazine) features an interesting read on the question of ‘suspect containers’. Perhaps this sheds some credible light on the dangers of unregulated handling of radioactive materials; and no less the potential hazards faced by cargo handlers and port authorities in the course of their duties. The billions of dollars spent by governments every year  in maintaining national security across multimodal transport modalities and ports of entry are often questioned; nonetheless, it is stories such as this case in the Port of Genoa, Italy, that lend credence to the need for non-intrusive inspection and detection equipment. Source: Wired.com