Abuja – The Secretary-General, Union of African Shippers’ Council (UASC), Mr Adamou Abdourahamane, on Thursday said that Africa’s share in global trade was more than 9 billion tonnes, less than 10 per cent of international trade.
Abdourahamane made the disclosure in Abuja at a two-day Sub-Regional Workshop on Transport Costs and Connectivity of African Countries; and Sensitisation Seminar on Container Weighing.
He said that there was need for connectivity in terms of infrastructure in order to improve sub-regional trade.
The secretary-general said that the infrastructures include: roads, railway, ports and airports which offered economic and social advantages by connecting enterprises to regional and international markets.
According to him, the infrastructure also enables people to have access to basic social services.
The secretary-general said that if the infrastructure were unavailable or damaged, people would not be able to play the connecting role, adding that this had adverse impact on the economy.
Abdourahamane said that non-availability of facilities would delay transactions and transportation costs would be increased.
He said that there should be a direct link between connectivity and transport costs.
The secretary-general said that transport and logistics were known to be slow and costly in West and Central Africa.
“The average costs of transporting a container on West and Central Africa corridors is 2.43 dollars per km, which is between 1.5 and 2.2 times higher than the freight rates applied in South Africa and United States respectively.
“In land-locked countries, transport costs an average 45 per cent of the value of imports and 35 per cent of exports, against global averages of 5.4 per cent and 8.8 per cent respectively.
“Such costs significantly limit the competitiveness of the sub-region’s enterprises on markets,’’ Abdourahamane said.
He said that Africa as a continent had a lot of maritime potential with more than 38 coastal island countries and a coastline stretching over 48,152 km.
Abdourahamane explained further that West and Central Africa had 20 coastal countries with a total of 28 operational sea ports, adding that there were potential for improving connectivity.
He said that the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), awareness and obligation to weigh containers before loading them on-board the ship would enter into force by July 2016.
In his goodwill message, the Managing Director, Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), Mr Bashir Wali, said that transport and logistics costs were high within the West and Central Africa.
Wali said that Africa had the lowest international score as contained in the published Logistical Performance Index (LPI).
He said that the outcome of the workshop would provide inputs toward effectively addressing the challenges of regional maritime and logistics sector.
Wali said that the Nigeria Export-Import Bank in partnership with the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) had both commissioned studies on the viability of promoting a dedicated regional maritime project.
He, however, commended the NSC for hosting the workshop, adding that NEXIM remained committed to its strategic objective of facilitating trade by strengthening regional maritime services and international cooperation.
In his remark, Mr Val Usifo, President of Shipping Association of Nigeria (SAN), commended the NSC for promoting and integrating all stakeholders in the nation.
Usifo said that the event would explain challenges which various regions were facing in transport connectivity.
He said it was necessary that transport connection costs would come down and also appealed to the various regions to work toward achieving it. (NAN)