Combine Cargo, a local freight forwarding firm, says transport logistics is not an invent-free operation as there are a number of changes that take place from time to time.
The firmâ€™s managing director Eddie Kaluwa said while multi-tier third party service providers are handling the cargo across various border and locations, each has its own unique local situations.
â€œThere are many additional changes and events that keep disrupting the smooth flow of supplies and the situation is very dynamic,â€ says Kaluwa in a paper titled â€˜The role of freight forwarders in managing the supply chain effectivelyâ€™.
â€œFor example, from Durban to Blantyre, you have to pass through seven border stations to process clearance at each point to secure transit bond through that country.
â€œBeitbridge Border Post is one of the busiest in sub-Saharan and at times you can have up to five kilometres queue of traffic in both directions causing major delays in the flow of trade,â€ he said.
Kaluwa said they also face a number of challenges when clearing goods at border posts, citing corruption, lack of operational border management and connectivity between countries.
â€œThe one stop border concept is being developed to reduce border operations delays. There is also need to develop a single window to speed up the documentation and processes,â€ he said.
The firms work with the Malawi Revenue Authority (MRA) and its public relations and taxpayer education manager Steve Kapoloma could not be reached last week to explain how soon the one stop border concept and connectivity between countries will be finalised.
Kaluwa, linking the role of freight forwarders in supply chain management, said they oversee the movement of goods from the source of supply to intended destinations.
â€œWhenever a customer places an order, further coordination and deliveries are managed by order fulfillment teams responsible for sales order processing,â€ he explained.
Kaluwa advised supply chain management officials to aim at finding reliable freight forwarders and customs brokers since the work is complex and requires to successfully move goods internationally.
He the work involves a high degree of knowledge of the laws and regulations governing transportation and not merely of countries of origin and destination, but also of any country or countries through whose territory the goods may to move along the transport chain.
â€œThe freight forwarders must have knowledge of the various carriers who trade between the countries in which he operates and all other countries having international trade links with his own,â€ he said.
Freight forwarding covers a wide range of activities and international movement of goods by land, sea and air.