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The latest crop of cargo and logistics projects in Africa are a step up in terms of security, efficiency and best practice, reflecting a general rise in confidence and ambition across the region
The prevalence of cargo theft has been a thorn in the side of warehouses and logistics companies operating across Africa for many years – and one that comes with a huge cost.
Improvements in security, both physical and digital, are now embedded in all the latest warehousing facilities to ensure the integrity of goods moving through the continent.
Sometimes, it can be a matter of national interest, not only in the collection of duties and fees, but in the control of illicit goods and traffic, including people smuggling.
This is just one area of improvement where, once again, operators in Africa are utilising technology to close the gap and match best-in-class facilities elsewhere in the world.
Activity in Egypt’s Suez Canal Economic Zone is a prime example. Here, industry leader Agility recently signed a contract to develop and operate a slick customs and logistics facility that will showcase the very best in terms of security and efficiency.
The flagship project will see Agility establishing a technical and logistical arm that will automate customs processes and operations in the SCZone. This automation will link the SCZone’s customs departments and relevant government agencies concerned with inspection work – it highlights how digital security has taken centre stage in logistics operations in the modern era.
The project, which is intended to turn the zone into a global logistics hub, will improve the flow of goods and commodities, raise efficiency, and lower costs to international companies and investors operating there.
Agility will invest US$60mn to build two 100,000 sq m customs and logistics hubs in the industrial zone at Ein Sokhna, as well as in East Port Said. Egypt sees the project – to be implemented during the second half of 2023 – as a key part of raising its appeal as an enticing investment destination.
It will enable the Suez Canal Authority to improve visibility over inbound materials and finished goods, while enhancing efficiency through a single-window customs platform, resulting in a quicker release of cargo.
Agility’s vice chairman, Tarek Sultan, said it will position Egypt as one of the world’s most advanced trade operators. “Companies with a presence in the Suez Canal Economic Zone will have access to the world’s best logistics infrastructure and services,” Sultan noted.