A MARITIME expert has called upon EAC member States to harmonize policies to improve services and ultimately reduce the currently high cost of transport in the region.
Acting Secretary General of the Inter-governmental Standing Committee Shipping (ISCOS), Mr Kassim Mpaata observed that it was imperative for member States to harmonize the sector’s policies and regulations, noting that it was crucial for the growth of the industry.
“It is important to harmonize policies and standards if we really want to achieve regional integration,” observed Mr Mpaata, here recently.
In spite of milestones registered by the sector in the region, it was still important for partner States to have the policies harmonized, not only to attract investment into the region, but also towards improving competitiveness and promoting trade.
In the same vein, Mr Mpaata commended Tanzania for removing terminal handling charges at Dar es Salaam Port, saying the moving will promote business growth in the region.
While admitting that it will take some time for other EAC countries to follow suit, the maritime expert said his organization will continue engaging partner States to remove terminal handling charges at its ports.
“This is a global issue and you need to take into account that each country moves at different levels, you cannot therefore force every country to do the same,” he said.
ISCOS is a regional organisation formed by Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia to handle their common shipping, maritime and logistics interests.
Its main objective is to serve the region and the international community as one-stop centre for regional maritime matters and logistics and to ensure that the region is served by adequate and competitive shipping services, through coherent and regionally coordinated programmes.
ISCOS works and collaborates with a wide range of stakeholders both regionally and internationally on matters affecting the region.
The organisation’s mandate, which accommodates substantial private sector participation, seeks to provide a structured dialogue with the public sector and other players in the industry, in order to ensure that national shipping and maritime policies are in tandem with the region’s aspirations.