The thriving of logistics companies is pegged on successful movement of goods from the supplier to the end customer. This success depends on the supply chain. Any kind of disruption in the flow of goods in any form or manner directly appears as a supply chain risk. Supply chain disruptions negatively impact the operations and financial performance of logistics companies, besides these supply chain reactions may also compromise the quality of products especially where the products are tampered with.
Some of the supply chain risks which are also logistics risks include damage, pilferage, theft, labelling and packaging of products, staffing and terrorism, material handling, storage of products and raw materials as well as movement of materials.
For a productive logistics workplace, safety and security procedures are important as they ensure the protection of the employees, the customers, the facility, the transport mediums as well as the goods themselves. One of the ways in which this can be achieved is through having policies in place that cover all these including a risk assessment procedure. The risk assessment procedure should not only include the goods but the business as a whole. Such safety and security procedures need to be reviewed regularly by the management, the management should involve experts when they can to determine any changes that need to be put in place for the policies, procedures and any guidelines to remain effective. This is an important aspect as circumstances are not constant and change from time to time, therefore, policies, procedures and any guidelines need to reflect changing times.
Other than ensuring that policies, procedures and guidelines remain effective in terms of ensuring safety and security in logistics companies, another effective tool is good relationships with the government, embassies and other organizations that are concerned with safety and security especially in the transport industry. This includes partnerships and engagements with institutions concerned with safety and security. These relationships should not only be in the country of operation but other countries especially those that the goods are transported to as well as those that the goods pass through on their way to the final destination.
Recently, there have been incidences of killing of drivers, wounding of passengers and setting ablaze of trucks along Ganji Lanya County, 65KM to Juba and Kulipa which is 58KM to Juba on Yei-Juba Road in South Sudan. The Juba-Nimule highway which Kenyan drivers use to ferry transit goods to South Sudan has been notorious for ambushes and illegal roadblocks.
The Kenya Transporters Association put forth a travel advisory that transporters should not use the Yei-Juba Highway and that those already in transit should arrange with their clients to collect their goods at the customs yard in Elegu Border.
The Republic of South Sudan has shown great concern over these incidences. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Headquarters, Office of the Spokesman released a press statement saying that they are deeply shocked and saddened by the incidences, they laid the blame on rebel groups that are opposed to the ongoing implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan. The Government of South Sudan has condemned these killings and have stated that they are committed to working closely with Kenya and Uganda to address these atrocities that hinder peaceful coexistence and safe movement of people, goods and services.
South Sudan formed a transitional government of national unity which saw the country return to normalcy after 7 years of war in February last year. This was a turn in the positive direction which saw the country becoming a lucrative place for logistics businesses especially after signing the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) in 2005. Many business persons from Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Eritrea among others started doing business in South Sudan due to its business potential and attractiveness.
For the business relationship between South Sudan and Kenya as well as with other countries to prosper, South Sudan needs to show not only commitment but also deliberate action aimed at ensuring safe and free movement into and out of Sudan. Adequate security should be provided on the transport routes. The government of South Sudan should also aim at benchmarking other countries that have had smooth relations with other countries especially in terms of transport in the logistics business. National and international stakeholder engagement will be quite an asset in relationship building and finding ways in which atrocities such as the recent killing can be solved. Working at ensuring the security of foreigners will go a long way in ensuring the growth of South Sudan’s economy as well as those countries it will be in business with.