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There are many challenging supply chain nightmares that I have been involved in over time. With supply chain it basically stems down to you being prepared to deal with the situations as they present themselves i.e. paperwork, customs, transporters, road conditions etc.

The country which stands out to me as one of the most difficult when it comes to Logistics is South Sudan. Honestly, it’s not for the faint hearted. Back in 2008 it was a chaotic nightmare to move cargo via road to Juba. There are a number of reasons for this, the top being corruption and basically no systems in the country. It really depended on the sort of customs officers you came across at the border or at the airport. Some often did not pay much attention to your paperwork (so long as you had some) while others became meticulous at finding any wrong detail on the paperwork.

With road transport the only thing you have to rely on is the driver and the transporter that you have outsourced. There are even some who will ask before hand if you really want back your customs paperwork or is it OK not to have the paperwork back? The cost of transporting and getting legit paperwork was different from that of simply delivery without worrying about the paperwork. It was quite possible to get anything you can think of into South Sudan and many used the opportunity.

The road network to South Sudan from Kenya is simply a nightmare and so transport companies prefer to use the route via Uganda to date. As the nation is now independent there are a lot of trade and investment opportunities that Kenyans can access. Surely we as Kenya should make haste to improve the road network into South Sudan because the cost of getting goods there will tremendously come down for businesses.

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