SAAFF Congress Tackles Freight Industry Challenges


SAAFF Congress Tackles Freight Industry Challenges 

International trade is becoming more complex for South African freight forwarders as new legislation and other transport regulation updates are enacted. For these reasons, the South African Association of Freight Forwarders (SAAFF) is pushing attendance of its forthcoming Congress as a business imperative for all trade and transport industry players. The SAAFF Congress takes place on 6 and 7 September at Gallagher Convention Centre, Midrand, Johannesburg.

Navigating Regulatory Roadmaps

“The new SA Customs Control Act, although vitally necessary and long overdue since the outdated 1964 Act, compels companies to comply with detailed reporting requirements set out by the South African Revenue Service (SARS), and impacts everyone involved in the Supply Chain - even down to the end-use consumer,” says SAAFF CEO David Logan. “In an already challenging business environment, the industry has to deal with masses of additional work.”

A recent regulation in The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) requires supply chain operators – including freight forwarders – to document and verify the weight of all containers before loading onto vessels.

“African states’ implementation of the Yamoussoukro Declaration on aviation transport and the World Customs Organisation’s ongoing implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement are piling on additional time, cost and other pressures in the Freight Forwarding sector,” continues Logan. “The SAAFF Congress aims to highlight these and other supply chain challenges, and explore workflow solutions in line with current international trends, insights and perspectives.”

The Customs Control Act is top of the agenda for all Freight Forwarding industry role-players. To assist members in complying with the new legislation, SAAFF has hosted a number of educational workshops.

The Freight Forwarding industry understands and supports compliance; however, that compliance adds exponential amounts of time and cost to supply chain performance which goes against the industry aim to shorten timeframes and reduce costs. South Africa’s logistics costs, as a percentage of its GDP, are already high at around 12.5%.

SAAFF Congress – SARS Highlights Key Measures

The impending Customs Control Act is designed to eliminate illegal trade – one reason why SARS is deploying high-tech container scanners at points of entry to the country. Jed Michaletos, Chief Officer of Customs and Excise at SARS, says there has been significant investment in technology and modernisation throughout the system. The new Act is a complex piece of legislation which changes the way business is done in order to ensure transparency.

"We’ve reduced the number of pieces of paper from millions to 800,000; physical inspection time has been reduced from eight hours to two; and real processing time of declarations has been cut from a few days to a few seconds. Michaletos explains, “In trade facilitation, we’ve halved the number of days it takes to export goods”.

SARS Integral to SAAFF Mandate

SARS’ active participation in this year’s SAAFF Congress provides a valuable opportunity for delegates to gain first-hand clarity on the new customs legislation, and other related aspects such as VAT, modernisation and restructuring. SARS Commissioner Tom Moyane will deliver the welcome address.

SAAFF has built up a long-standing relationship with SARS over the years and their presence is vital to the success of this Congress and the benefit of SAAFF members,” adds Logan.

SAAFF is also honoured to have Lombard Insurance as the prime supporter of its annual Congress for the past seven years. The company offers a range of versatile insurance products specifically designed for the freight forwarding industry, and is proactive in serving the needs of all stakeholders. “Lombard Insurance prides itself on being a major supporter of the SAAFF Congress,” says Underwriting Manager James Barrow. “SAAFF plays a major role in the success of freight forwarding in South Africa and is a significant asset to the supply chain industry as a facilitator of international trade.”

International Speakers Share Expertise

This year’s SAAFF Congress boasts 11 high-profile local and international speakers. Issa Baluch, an honourary Board member of FIATA, will elaborate on the Yamoussoukro Declaration and its objective to establish a single African air transport market.
Stephen Morris, Chairman of the Customs Affairs Institute of FIATA, will discuss details of the World Customs Organisation’s Trade Facilitation Agreement. “Harmonised and compliant implementation of the agreement will be a key factor to sustainable growth in countries that swiftly implement the agreement,” says Morris.

Local Expertise and Perceptions

A number of South African speakers will discuss pressing local issues that play a role in the industry.

  • Sizwe Nxedlana – Chief Economist at First National Bank: Fading Stagflation 
  • Justice Malala – Political AnalystBeyond the Noise: SA Politics 2016 - 2024
  • Geordin Hill-Lewis – Shadow Minister of Trade & Industry: International Trade and Regional Developments

The Congress will also present a panel discussion on SOLAS, Transnet and the Tambo Springs Inland Ports project. The Tambo Springs Next Generation Inland Port and Logistics Gateway is a world class development that will combine warehousing, distribution, manufacturing and shipping to enhance supply chain operating efficiencies for the Southern African Logistics Industry.

Benefits of Attending

“This year’s SAAFF Congress happens at a beneficial time in the industry, as we encounter numerous opportunities amongst the usual challenges,” adds Logan. “Besides customs affairs, cargo security, supply chain costs, industry transformation, legislation, skills development, insurance, trade and economic issues, there are always opportunities coming into the picture.”

The Congress itself presents a valuable opportunity for delegates to network with fellow industry members over the two-day duration, including a themed Gala Dinner and a post-conference networking cocktail evening.

SAAFF Trade Exhibition

The SAAFF Exhibition provides a focused platform for exhibitors to connect with industry stakeholders in an informal, interactive setting. This year’s exhibition has expanded to 25 exhibitors and enables delegates and companies to do business in an industry environment.

SAAFF gratefully acknowledges support from this year’s congress sponsors which include; Lombard Insurance (Primary Funder); WiseTech Global, Airlink Cargo, Prestmarine and ShipShape.

For more information on the Congress, visit or phone Catherine Larkin at CVLC – Tel: 011 789-7327 / 787-9127

For more information on the Exhibition, contact Colin Hudson on 083 628 6406 or email -

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