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Sihle Zikalala, MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs for the Province of KwaZulu-Natal

Agility, APM Terminals, Borderless Alliance, Dole South Africa, DP World Maputo, Dube TradePort, ICTSI DRC and Walvis Bay Corridor Group are among the latest confirmed to join the pan-African trade debate at inaugural TOC in Durban.

Sihle Zikalala, MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs for the Province of KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), will open proceedings at the TOC Africa 2017 conference and networking event, taking place from 5 to 6 December 2017 at Durban ICC under the headline theme “Improving Trade Flows Across Africa.”

The province of Kwazulu-Natal, along with Transnet, South Africa’s parastatal ports and rail provider will host the first TOC taking place on the African continent over 40 years.

“We have no doubt that our hosting of TOC Africa will help to bring physical expression to the ‘Africa Rising’ narrative by enabling Africa’s ports and port cities to contribute to Africa’s growth and development agenda,” says Zikalala.

With all major regions of Africa to be represented in speaker panels, delegate and visitor attendance, TOC Africa will explore challenges and opportunities for inter-continental and intra-continental trade, transport and logistics, including investment in infrastructure, information technology and digitisation.

The 2-day Container Supply Chain Conference track kicks off with a look at the Business, Economic and Trade Outlook for Africa, featuring speakers from UNCTAD, the United Nations Conference on Trade & Development and the South African Department of Transport. The conference then moves on to look at the current reality and future vision for trade flows across Africa, with the second day providing a deep dive into Logistics Hubs, Logistics Hinterland, Logistics Clusters and Trade Corridors. Views from across the supply chain will be represented, with speakers so far confirmed from Dole South Africa, Citrus Growers of South Africa, Damco, APM Terminals, DP World, ICTSI, the Port Management Associations of West & Central Africa (PMAWCA) and Eastern and Southern Africa (PMAESA), Dube TradePort, Smart City of Kigali, Walvis Bay Corridor Group and HafenAgentur, among others.

Defining, designing, funding and operating the port and logistics infrastructure of the future will be a key theme, with international regional operators of port terminals and logistics clusters joined by African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM).

Africa still does very limited trade with Africa and tackling current barriers to cross-border trade is a critical undertaking.

“At TOC Africa, I will discuss the importance of technology in trade facilitation in order to solve the ‘soft infrastructure’ bottlenecks – governance, corruption and non-tariff barriers – which choke the ‘hard infrastructure’ of ports, roads, bridges and tunnels across a region that has a shortage of infrastructure,” says Ziad Hamoui, Borderless Alliance National President for Ghana.

Current bottlenecks and solutions will also be the focus for German-Ghanaian enterprise Hafenagentur, which provides maritime logistics, shipping service, haulage and port development across West Africa.

“TOC’s first Africa conference underlines the importance of this continent to the world economy,” says Markus Brinkman, Hafenagentur Managing Director.

A parallel conference track focuses on operational, equipment and technology issues, covering both container terminals and bulk logistics. Key discussions will address Skills and Talent Development in African Ports, Risk and Safety, Equipment Maintenance, Automation & Innovation, Port Productivity and Clean Technologies.

A special session with speaker Andy Connell of A-Bar-C Services, formerly of Dole Fresh Fruit Food Group, will focus on the problems of abandoned cargoes.

“I hope to create an awareness of the incidences and reasons for cargo abandonment, and the pitfalls and costs, to stimulate dialogue amongst port authorities on this issue and to help with a roadmap out of such events,” says Connell.

Running alongside the conference tracks is a port technology exhibition featuring both international and African suppliers and manufacturers. Confirmed companies include Konecranes, Superior, ZPMC, Musco Lighting, Phoenix Terminal Solutions and BLT Big Lift Trucks.

Date: 5 to 6 December 2017
Venue: Durban ICC, South Africa

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