South Africa is one of three key markets to join the World Logistics Passport Global Reach Programme, a trade-boosting programme aimed at increasing trade spanning nine countries across three continents.
Mike Bhaskaran, CEO of the World Logistics Passport, said the trade programme was a major policy initiative established to increase trading opportunities between emerging markets.
Bhaskaran said South Africa, India and Indonesia joined Colombia, Senegal, Kazakhstan, Brazil, Uruguay and the UAE in a club of trading nations sharing expertise to smooth trade flows around the world.
“The World Logistics Passport increases resilience in global supply chains and removes the barriers that prevent developing economies from trading as freely as they might, which is more important than ever as governments around the world seek to recover from the economic impact of Covid-19,” said Bhaskaran.
He added that the programme would create opportunities for business across Africa, Asia, Central and South America and also improve existing trading routes as well as develop new ones.
“It overcomes non-tariff trade barriers by fast-tracking cargo movement, reducing administrative costs, advancing cargo information and facilitating movement between ports and air,” he said.
Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce Jackie Mpondo-Hendricks president said improving trade is a priority for South Africa and Africa as a whole in order to boost job creation and support export-led growth.
Mpondo-Hendricks said the chamber signed a framework agreement with the World Logistics Passport and bilateral negotiations with the government.
“Joining the World Logistics Passport will be a key enabler of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement and will open up new market potential among countries in the region. We believe that South African traders and freight forwarders will greatly benefit from this global incentive program to boost south-south trade,” said Mpondo-Hendricks.
South Africa joined the World Logistics Passport at a time when the country and Africa need to recover from the economic impact of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. According to Mpondo-Hendricks, the programme is closely aligned with South Africa’s National Development Plan 2030, which aims to increase intra-regional trade and improve trade penetration into fast growing markets in Asia and Latin America.
She added that the programme was also working on increasing routing options to South Africa as well as opening up a diversified range of export markets to promote trade penetration in fast growing economies.
“A prime example of the benefits of the programme is the cargo journey from Jakarta [Indonesia] to Johannesburg. Transporting high-value, low-weight goods through historically established transport routes in Europe takes considerably longer, and is therefore more expensive than if the goods pass through Dubai.
“Through the programme, traders can expect to save 25% on freight costs and 10% on transit time moving goods from Indonesia to South Africa,” said Mpondo-Hendricks.
India also joined, the largest economy to join the programme to date. India’s ministry of commerce and industry said the programme was closely aligned with the Strategy for India@75.
“The programme aims to boost national competitiveness, increase the efficiency of India’s logistics sector and build tighter economic integration with emerging economies in south and south east Asia,” said the ministry.
Of Indonesia, the programme said the country was a strategically important market for the programme as it represents a region key to the World Logistics Passport concept for its fast economic growth driven by manufacturing exports.
“The programme will compliment and reinforce the headline aims of the final stage of the long-term national development plan, specifically in terms of boosting national competitiveness and higher wage job creation across all of Indonesia’s varied geographies,” said Bhaskaran.