African logistics services providers challenged to Seek UN tenders

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Logistics companies in Africa were challenged to tender for United Nations (UN) jobs. The global body, with the 29 agencies spread across the globe provides a huge market for them.

The UN Secretariat’s total procurement budget in 2015 was $3bn, of which $750m went to aviation and some $170m on freight forwarding, Mr Ken Singh who works for Atlas Cargo in Canada told the participants in the recently concluded Global Logistics Summit, which brought over 300 participants in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The total UN spends on transportation, storage and mail was $2.46bn. The United Nations Procurement Division, said Singh, ships everything, from vaccines to vehicles and has a permanent demand for short and long term aircraft, ship chartering and freight forwarding.

The overall procurement volumes of both goods and services of UN organizations in 2015 increased to 16.2 billion dollars from 17.2 billion in 2014. Distribution of UN procurement by sector indicates that 17 percent was transport that is largely sourced from US, Europe and Asia.

“About 90 % of destination is in Africa and UN looks currently for direct routes between Latin America and Africa,” said Mr. Singh, adding that despite the huge logistical challenges faced by the UN, and a significant spend, it has only some 25 freight forwarders on its vendor lists.

Only about 40 companies provide UN with aviation. Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), Atlas Cargo, Damco and Bollore Transport Logistics are among those listed as suppliers by the global body.

“There’s a lot of room for new companies to come in,” Mr. Singh said.

Getting listed is simple and is done by registering in the UN Global Market Place website in three level of tenders- Basic contracts of up to $ 40,000 , those of up to $ 500,000 and more than $ 500,000. For second and third levels, financial information is required.