This year’s conference highlighted maritime logistics and its significance for humanitarian operations and commercial companies in developing countries. KLU Professor Maria Besiou and her colleague Professor Michele Acciaro were invited to give the introductory plenary presentation at the conference. Besiou discussed maritime logistics' role in development and humanitarian operations. Her presentation focused on showing the benefits to the shipping and port industry deriving from an active presence in Africa: the maritime industry should see operating in Africa as an opportunity rather than a burden.
Besiou also moderated a panel discussion on this topic with presenters from the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Maersk, the Tanzania Shipping Agents Association, the World Food Program (WFP) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Kenya.
In humanitarian operations, more than half of all relief items are transported by sea. This makes ocean transportation a crucial link in humanitarian supply chains. If these operations are to be successful, they require reliable providers of cost-efficient ocean transport services, a specialized network of reliable ship brokers and freight forwarders, the provision of safety measures in dangerous waters and the expansion of railways and road networks to cope with rising volumes and competition between the biggest ports in Africa. African ports face serious challenges with regard to productivity, efficiency and sustainability. This directly impacts logistics and supply chain performance in both the humanitarian and commercial sectors.
The 3rd African Logistics Conference addressed these challenges and facilitated the identification of strategies to overcome them. This year’s conference was co-organized by the Kühne Foundation, the National Institute of Transport in Tanzania, and the University of Dar Es Salaam.