SMEs in logistics and transport industry face obstacles

11 Oct 2013 13:40pm
WINDHOEK, 11 OCT (NAMPA) – Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the logistics and transport industries face various challenges including unequal distribution of job opportunities, lack of financial support, training, as well as staff capacity-building.
Owner of BJG Transport, Benjamin Groenewald, expressed these sentiments during the final session of the SME Transporters’ Training Initiative spearheaded by the Embassy of Finland and the Walvis Bay Corridor Group (WBCG) here on Thursday.
“Our grave concerns in the SME sector and as members of the Namibia Transporters’ Association (NATA) are that most mining companies and other international firms keep doing business with big established transport companies; lack of financial support to grow our current capacity to accommodate bigger national and international contracts; and lack of training,” he lamented.
Ten representatives from local transporters participated in various training sessions facilitated by SMEs Compete, which commenced already in May this year.
Sessions included amongst others entrepreneurship (accounting, financial statements, and the Labour Act and relations), road safety (safety and fire-fighting, defensive driving, fuel management), and freight forwarding (packaging, warehousing, customs and bonds).
After the sessions were completed, a six-member delegation consisted of trainees and representatives from WBCG went to Helsinki, Finland in June this year as part of a one-week study tour. This included meetings with stakeholders in the logistics and transport industries there to establish possible partnerships.
“The experience in Finland added significant value to the success of my business,” Groenewald added.
At the same occasion, Charge d’ Affaires of the Embassy of Finland, Anne Saloranta said the logistics sector is key for economic growth in Namibia.
She said Finland strives to improve the situation of the poor, and aims at reducing inequality in Namibia.
Positive development can be strengthened by Namibia’s own development plans and priorities with the Finnish Development Policy Programme, she said.
“Development co-operation with Namibia is based on focus areas and include an inclusive Green economy that promotes employment (trade, investment, and poverty reduction); a democratic and accountable society that promotes human rights (democracy and good governance); and cultural rights through the promotion and preservation of cultural heritage,” said the Finnish diplomat.