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South African freight forwarder goes to the world

February 1, 2019
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Each year the International Federation of Freight Forwarders’ Association (FIATA) hosts the Young Freight Forwarder Award competition. In 2018, 27-year-old Tjaka Segooa, a freight forwarder at Bidvest Panalpina Logistics (BPL), made it to the FIATA World Congress in New Delhi as one of four regional finalists, where she was up against entrants from the Americas, Europe and the Pacific regions.

The first part of the competition entails an extensively researched 6 000-word paper outlining an import and export shipment from the entrant’s native country.

Segooa’s paper dealt with the delivery of an abnormally sized consignment of aircraft parts to Germany, showcasing South Africa’s technical capabilities. It also outlined the importation from France by sea of a container of temperature-sensitive carbon composites, which involved a short transit, yet explored strategic responses and demonstrated how modern technologies can’t be taken for granted.

Segooa’s dissertation beat 16 entries from around the world and put her through to the regional second phase, representing Africa Middle East.

For her 15-minute final-phase presentation, Segooa used the Rubik’s Cube as a metaphor for freight forwarding, associating the six sides of the cube with the six main elements of international trade transactions.

“The Rubik’s Cube has taught me that the real reward of achieving a goal is far greater than the actual result,” she says.

“It’s all about who you become in the process of challenging yourself, and how that inspires other people. This is why I chose it as the metaphor to explain the complexity in freight forwarding, where no amount of data or numbers will get you to the right answer.

“When it comes time to make that decision as a freight forwarder, all you have to guide you are your values, vision and life experiences that make you who you are.”

The United Kingdom’s Louis Perrin claimed the top honours for 2018. In 2014, BPL entrant Fortunate Mboweni became the first African-born entrant to win the international Young Freight Forwarder Award.

FOCUS on Transport and Logistics is one of the oldest and most respected transport and logistics publications in southern Africa.

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