The customs clearing and freight forwarding industry needs help in order to keep pace with the fast-changing world of international trade, Paratus Telecom has advised.
Adopting internet-based business strategies is crucial to surviving and remaining competitive in today’s challenging marketplace, members of the Zambia Customs and Forwarding Agents Association (ZCFAA) heard during a business leaders strategic meeting in Lusaka.
Speaking at the meeting, Paratus Sales Executive Andrew Shaw said clearing and freight forwarding companies needed more reliable internet services to ensure efficiency.
“We understand that there are enormous problems with connectivity at the borders. After consulting with many of the clearing and forwarding and logistics companies, it is clear there are serious delays at the borders. A field trip to Chirundu showed us that digital communication was part of the problem,” said Mr Shaw.
On the back of this research Paratus Telecom, the largest privately owned Pan African telecoms operator, recently installed a new point-of-presence (POP) in Chirundu to provide solid and stable internet connectivity to enable clearing agents, importers and exporters to access the Zambia Revenue Authority’s Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) system for handling customs procedures efficiently at the border post.
ASYCUDA is an internet-based system that enables customs authorities and traders to handle customs procedures electronically for quicker declaration processing.
Mr Shaw told business leaders that clearing and forwarding firms needed more reliable internet to save costs and meet the growing demands of their services:
“Time is money. Trucks standing idle is costing the industry and the country dearly. Improving the standard of connectivity is part of the solution.”
“It is also important to understand your office requirements when it comes to how much bandwidth you need. Demands from the Zambia Revenue Authority’s Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA), the NAPSA systems, email etc. mean proper and stable internet is a must.” he explained, “You can work consistently as long as you have the right amount of bandwidth.”
“Yes, internet costs money, but we are looking for long-lasting relationships and that’s why we are aiming in providing the best bespoke solution possible. We are open to suggestions and we want to get views from customers,” he stated.
“We have a different approach to providing internet. We consult with various industries on their requirements and implement solutions accordingly.” Mr Shaw emphasised.
“You tell us where you want us to go next.” he added, appealing for the industry to take the lead. “We are your long term partner for connectivity.