By Inaam el-Adawi
A senior export official has warned that EgyptAir’s increasing air freight prices pose a threat to Egyptian exporters.
Tarek Darwish, head of the transport and air freight commission of the general exporters section at the Federation of the Egyptian Chambers of Commerce (EFCC), said that the national carriers’ latest 5% rise in freight prices poses a threat to small exporters, and consequently to competitiveness in foreign markets.
Exporters face other problems with EgyptAir, Darwish said in an interview with Logistic.
“These include inadequate number of flights – sometimes no flights at all – to many African countries,” he said, pointing out that there is limited space for exports on flights and the small X-ray apparatuses at the Cairo International Airport Cargo Village.
The exporters have requested a meeting with the Minister of Civil Aviation to discuss air freight problems on EgyptAir, Darwish said.
“We will demand the airline launch special flights for certain exports, and present a solution to the difficulties at the Cargo Village, which causes delay and even goods to spoil,” he said.
Darwish also called on EgyptAir to increase flights to the African market, including countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi and Malawi.
While EgyptAir has attributed increasing freight prices to rising fuel prices, Darwish pointed instead to EgyptAir’s inability to increase flights. He also suggested using cargo planes for carrying Egyptian products abroad.
Exporters are in dire need of government support to enhance their competitiveness in target markets, Darwish said, urging special backing to orange exporters “who have received no support for some years.”
Egypt’s total citrus production is about 4m tonnes, only 1.1 tonne of which is for export purposes.
To assist exporters, Darwish suggested reducing customs duties and tariffs. The government should also help them take part in fairs, both at home and abroad, he said.
He warned that dozens of factories are recording losses and many more have already closed down.
The EFCC exporters section is working with the Egypt Expo & Convention Authority, seeking to allocate a 9 square metres area for each small exporter in to display his/her products during EECA fairs.
He also called for sellers to arrange the carriage of goods by sea to a port of destination, and provide the buyer with the documents necessary to obtain the goods from the carrier.
The section has already agreed with the Cairo Chamber of Commerce to organise training courses for junior exporters to educate them on shipping methods, acknowledged international trade and banking terminology, and the involved world trade pacts as well as on the importance of insurance for the exports and exporters.
The proposed courses will also cover the importance and benefits of a certificate of origin; wrapping and packaging; land, air and sea shipping; the customs system; sources of data, either the Egyptian International Trade Point or the Egyptian Commercial Service; the commercial attachés at the Egyptian embassies abroad; and the promising markets for exports and pricing products for exporting purposes.
The exporters section has submitted a memorandum to Minister of Industry and Foreign Trade Mounir Fakhry Abdel Nour on boosting from the percentage of local products that are exported from 20% to 40% by next year, Darwish said.