Despite border closures and rows over testing of cargo truck drivers, East Africa Community governments have agreed to include imported motor vehicles as essential goods. They have adopted protocols that will make it easier for drivers to deliver the vehicles to their destinations from the port of Mombasa.
During a virtual meeting held last week on trade facilitation initiatives on the Northern Corridor in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, members resolved to include imported vehicles to essential goods in order to decongest the port and car depots in Mombasa. The meeting, which was the third one, was attended by various government and private sector representatives from the five EAC states.
The Kenya Ports Authority has voiced concern over congestion.
Omae Nyarandi, executive secretary of the Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Co-ordination Authority (NCTTCA) said the agreement to facilitate movement of imported motor vehicles will also save importers from paying hefty demurrage fees.
"We agreed that all drivers picking such units must have a valid Covid-19 certificate and must provide their verified identification and physical address. They must also declare the destination of the motor vehicles unit and they will be moving in batches of convoys controlled by the national police service and they shall only stop at designated areas along the Northern Corridor," said Mr Nyarandi.
"After delivery, a pool transport will be organised for the drivers to return back to their respective countries," he added.
According to the protocol, the drivers shall ensure they abide by the April 20 EAC administrative guidelines to facilitate movement of goods and services during the Covid-19 pandemic.