Ethiopian Freight Forwarders and Shipping Agents Association

EFFSAA Weekly Newsletter, Vol. 01, No. 036

Freight forwarders express burden over NBE’s directive

Logistics operators argue that the amended directive of the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE) on foreign currency earnings and retention is not putting in to account the services they are handling.

It is to be recalled that on March 9, 2021, NBE had amended the ‘retention and utilization of export earnings and inward remittances’ under directive no. FXD/70/2021.

Logistics actors, who are mainly working on freight forwarding with their foreign investors, are arguing that the directive has induced an unnecessary pressure on their charge settlement that is supposed to be due at Djibouti.

As a principle, NBE has a special arrangement for the allocation of foreign currency for port charges. It gives a right for the freight forwarding sector to access foreign currency and transfer port charges within seven days after the application, while the foreign currency shortage at banks push it up to three and more months.

Due to that logistics companies which are working with customers who are paying on foreign currency receive the commission via local banks and settle the port charge by themselves.

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Container shipping rates to remain high throughout 2021, UNCTAD says

Container shipping rates to remain high throughout 2021, UNCTAD says

The COVID-19 pandemic-induced surge in container shipping rates is expected to continue throughout 2021 and the price hike will be passed on to consumers, a United Nations report said.

Policy makers must focus in the long term on further reforms in trade facilitation and ports, improved tracking and forecasting, and strengthening national competition authorities, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said in a policy brief.

“The ripples will hit most consumers,” Jan Hoffmann, head of UNCTAD ’s trade and logistics branch, said. “Many businesses won’t be able to bear the brunt of the higher rates and will pass them on to their customers.” About 80 per cent of the goods we consume are carried by ships, he said.

When the Ever Given megaship blocked traffic in the Suez Canal for almost a week in March, it triggered a fresh surge in container spot freight rates, which had begun to ease from the record highs reached during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Shipping rates are a major component of trade costs, so the new hike poses an additional challenge to the world economy as it struggles to recover from the worst global crisis since the Great Depression,” the report said.

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CMA CGM Orders 22 New Vessels from CSSC

CMA CGM Orders 22 New Vessels from CSSC

French container shipping company the CMA CGM Group announced on Friday it has ordered 22 vessels from Chinese shipyard CSSC Group expected to be delivered in 2023 and 2024. The value of the order was not disclosed.

The shipbuilding contract, which comes amid strong market growth in the container shipping sector, includes 12 ships powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG) and 10 to run on very low sulfur fuel oil (VLSFO), CMA CGM said. Six of the LNG-fueled box ships will be 13,000 TEU capacity, and the other six will be 15,000 TEU. The VLSFO-powered ships will be 5,500 TEU capacity.

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Why is the US concerned about China’s naval base in Djibouti?

The US alleges that China’s base in Africa is now big enough to host aircraft carriers.

China has completed construction of a pier at its naval base in Djibouti near the entrance to the Red Sea, the top commander of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) claimed when speaking to lawmakers.

The Djibouti base was inaugurated in 2017 to help Chinese anti-piracy missions in the Gulf of Aden. However, it has expanded to support various warships and Chinese domestically-designed Type 002 aircraft carriers due to its new large deck. But while China has expanded only its base in Djibouti, the US maintains countless AFRICOM bases on the continent. A Pentagon map shows the US has 29 military bases across Africa.

Djibouti is located on the Horn of Africa and close to the Bab el Mandeb, the entrance to the Red Sea from the Gulf of Aden. Being near a major chokepoint for one of the world’s most important commercial maritime routes, which passes through the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean Sea, makes it a vital node in the global trade of oil and goods.

It is unsurprising then that Djibouti, one of the most stable countries in the region, hosts an extensive array of military powers hardly seen anywhere else in the world. The US, France, Italy, Spain, Japan – and most recently China and Saudi Arabia – have military bases across the 23,000 square km-sized country.

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Railway Sector: Morocco’s development model attracts great interest at international conference.

Railway Sector-Morocco’s development model attracts great interest at international conference.

The sustainable development model of the Moroccan railway sector has attracted great interest at an international conference organized recently in collaboration with the International Union of Railways (UIC) – Africa Region.

More than 5,600 participants have noted, emphatically and unanimously, the challenges involved in the profound transformation of transport systems to effectively integrate the imperatives of sustainable development and adaption to climate change, especially for developing countries, especially in Africa.

The ambition is to transform the African rail space into the backbone of a more viable and efficient transport system, providing a reliable solution to the regional integration project and sustainable mobility within the continent.

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