TRADE: Northern Corridor transit improves–study

The Northern Corridor serves the five countries of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo it is also linked to northern Tanzania, Southern Sudan and Ethiopia. There are signs of reduced non-tariff barriers along the Northern Corridor since 2007, according to a survey by the Seamless Transport Committee (STC).

The Northern Corridor serves the five countries of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo it is also linked to northern Tanzania, Southern Sudan and Ethiopia.

There are signs of reduced non-tariff barriers along the Northern Corridor since 2007, according to a survey by the Seamless Transport Committee (STC).

Tilas Muia, the Secretary for STC, who also took part in the survey released on November 8, said delays in cargo transportation along the Northern Corridor had reduced by 30 percent from Mombassa to Kigali since 2007.

Muia was making a presentation to an STC meeting in Kigali, Rwanda last week.

He cited some developments that contributed to improvement in transit as being the expansion of an additional lane at Mariakani weighbridge, computerisation of Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and improvement of the road network.

The Northern Corridor serves the five countries of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo it is also linked to northern Tanzania, Southern Sudan and Ethiopia.

The survey by a seven-man team covered 1,659 km and 13 weighbridges along the corridor.

The 2007 survey had discovered numerous impediments to transit activities along the corridor but this year’s survey indicates that 25 police checks along the corridor had contributed much to dealing with insecurity.

However, on the downside representatives of the Rwandan Transporters Association told the committee that bribery and ambushes are still rampant at the weighbridges and road blocks.

Police representatives from Kenya and Uganda stressed collaboration with the transporters in order to deal with insecurity along the Mombassa- Kigali route.

The committee recommended that the police play its role effectively along the route, especially within Rwanda, where only one check point is in place.

Eng. Michael Njoroge, a representative of the Kenyan Ministry of roads stated that, “We are working against the bribery issue with the cooperation of security officers.”

James Adoli, Officer in Charge of Traffic in Kenya told the committee that the Kenyan police had intensified security along the corridor with the deployment of more police patrol vehicles and had increased check points to 13.

On the state of roads along the corridor, Kassim Omar, Vice President of the Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry said that the current state of the roads was ‘pathetic.’ 

However Michael Odongo, Chief Materials Engineer with Uganda’s Ministry of Works and Transport defended that, there is progress on construction and maintenance of the road.

He explained that 60 percent of the work is about to be completed.

With 70 percent of imports and exports from the region being transported by road, the Northern Corridor is believed to be vital to the economies of the Great Lakes countries and Southern Sudan.

Odongo said that some damaged sections of the roads are under rehabilitation as they had got more funding from the European Union (EU) while other parts are in good condition.

He was optimistic that construction will be completed in the next three years.

The findings will also help East African Community (EAC) partner states in addressing barriers that may halt efforts for a common market, that has a market base of over 100 million people.

The EAC common market protocol will guarantee free movement of goods, services, capital and persons in the region.

STC called upon other regional revenue authorities to emulate KRA by installing Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) to avoid escorting of goods. 

Rwanda and Kenya have stepped up efforts to acquire a Port Community Based System (PCBS), which will provide a single window electronic platform for processing cargo clearance documentation.

The system is expected to reduce cargo congestion and time spent by trucks at the ports.

The Seamless Transport Committee was initially formed in 2005 by the transport ministries of Kenya and Uganda. I 2007, Rwanda, Burundi and Congo joined.

The intention was a concerted effort to identify and remove impediments to business activity along the Northern corridor that stretches from Mombassa to Congo

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