Some 30 logistics professionals attended a FIATA graduation ceremony in Walvis Bay yesterday. This is the first time that the internationally recognized FIATA course, which focuses on freight logistics standards and management, was presented in Namibia. More than 50 people completed the grueling course last year in November, with topics ranging from INCO terms, international trade, freight forwarding, to supply chain management among others. The course was presented by GMLS and arranged by the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG).
Congratulating the students the CEO of Namport and Chairman of the WBCG, Bisey Uirab said the graduation ticked off another box in the drive to enhance the country’s skills and competency. “We are proud to witness the graduation of the first group of FIATA students. This training is a step in the right direction for the local freight forwarders as human capacity building forms part of the development of the country’s logistics industry. We have invested considerable effort and funds to improve our port and logistics infrastructure, but this would be a skewed development, if we did not focus on training people.”
Uirab said it is imperative that Namibia keeps up with advancements and developments in the global logistics industry. “Foreign trade plays a crucial role in our economy, and it is essential that we continuously improve and build on our efficiencies, skills and infrastructure.” said Uirab. He urged the graduates to apply and share the best practices of the course in their workplaces, expressing the hope that graduates had now gained better understanding of the port, customs and freight processes.
In his address the Chairman of the Walvis Bay Port Users Authority, Riaan Lottering, said FIATA training creates diligence and efficiency. “The training refocuses the importance of compliance to regulations in the freight industry. By following the rules and having a clear understanding of the logistics processes, the industry can make the right decisions faster and without fear. This addresses issues such as corruption, incompetence and delays in the industry. In turn with skilled and knowledgeable logistics professionals, efficiency within the corridors are greatly improved. However, like a formula one racing team, the logistics industry needs to work together to ensure that we maintain the diligence and efficiencies. If one team member breaks the chain, then all is broken.”
More than 257,000 people work in the Namibian logistics industry, accounting for about 10% of the country’s population. The Port of Walvis Bay has a capacity of 350,000 TEUs and the country has 7,568km of tarred roads creating the ideal gateway for imports and exports to and from landlocked countries. The logistics industry contributes about 4.7% of the national GDP. One of the graduates, Ben Louw of Customs said the long hours of study had paid off and urged his fellow graduates to continue building capacity. “Now that you understand the processes and freight standards, Customs will not tolerate exceptions and delays”, he jibed, joking that with the graduates’ new-found knowledge, their employers should in turn consider improvements to remuneration.
A number of Woker Freight Services staff were among the graduates.