The former President of the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Kwabena Ofosu Appiah has expressed his worry over the industry’s trend that seeks to eliminate freight forwarders.
Mr. Ofosu Appiah bemoaned that, the issue of phasing out freight forwarders as middle men in the industry while empowering the traders is a threat to the freight forwarding fraternity.
Mr. Ofosu Appiah disclosed this in relation to the World Trade Organization initiative to facilitate trade at the most convenient and affordable means for traders, which has gradually gained momentum globally. And as such, it is feared that, clearing agents like other forms of middle men, may be removed abruptly, he said
According to him, while the fraternity’s activities are backed by legislation, clearing and forwarding agents should not be comfortable with the present insulation that it provides.
However, Mr. Ofosu Appiah called for clearing agents and freight forwarders to continue to explore initiatives to provide value for traders.
“Let us not allow the statutory demands shape us. But let’s get closer to the trader who is the prima donna and kingpin of our existence, and find more solutions that will wow the customer so that legislation or no legislation, there is value. We should plug ourselves into the trader’s supply chain architecture and offer solutions they can’t provide. That way, we cut their cost, and stress to handle everything.
“For example, these big supermarkets, if their clearing and forwarding agents have the capacity to plug their inventory system, can you imagine how much load is taken off their heads and how much efficiency is introduced?”Mr. Kwabena Ofosu Appiah
A Call For Evolution In Freight Forwarding industry
In support of Mr. Ofosu’s suggestion, the Former President of Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Mr. Joseph Agbaga joined in the call for evolution of the freight forwarding industry.
According to Mr. Agbagba, the modern freight forwarder in Ghana have been able to evolve to position themselves as third party logistics service providers capable of doing beyond customs brokerage.
“We have seen this coming, and we are becoming more sophisticated as we are aware of our customers knowing that international transport solutions do not lie in isolation but a partnership between a customer and a freight forwarder. Against this backdrop, there has been the use of Information technology to make things happen.”Mr. Joseph Agbaga
Both Kwabena Ofosu Appiah and Mr. Joseph Agbaga shared the same thought in the emphasis that, the freight forwarder is a major and indispensable component in international trading activities by virtue of the exposure the practice gives.
According to Mr. Ofosu Appiah, with the freight forwarder serving as liaisons between shipping lines, government actors and ports, they have been able to ascertain industry standards especially pertaining to prices of goods and services as well as facilitating fair and cost-efficient trade processes.
Mr. Agbaga adding up mentioned that, freight forwarders by virtue of their work, must be “a storehouse of knowledge” to assist traders go through the supply chain at the least possible level of hustle.
“You should be able to understand the nuances of trade; like how to interpret a sales contract and other formal process,” he stated.
The veteran freight forwarders nonetheless expressed dissatisfaction about how much government policies take into consideration the opinion of that particular industry.