Kenya’s Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Co-ordination Authority is pushing to have long distance hauliers use the Kenya-Tanzania link road to boost cross-border trade.
The link road—Voi-Taveta-Singida-Kobero highwa —is an alternative between the port of Mombasa and Bujumbura as EAC partner states enhance Customs management systems to reduce bottle necks.
“Since the opening of the one-stop border post (OSBP) at Holili and completion of the Voi-Taveta road, the highway has opened up an alternative route to Bujumbura from Mombasa port and we are engaging stakeholders to promote its usage,” said NCTTCA’s chief executive officer Omae Nyarandi.
He further said; “We are at an advance stage to solve several small issues to ensure Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda utilise this corridor, which covers 1,545km, reducing the distance from Mombasa to Bujumbura via the Northern Corridor by 358 kilometres,” he added.
The distance to Rwanda has been reduced by 200km.
According to a NCTTCA logistics survey of the route from Mombasa to the Taveta/Holili OSBP transit section through Voi conducted this year, the route lacked geofencing, which would make it possible for transporters to track their cargo. Geo-fencing guards against theft and loss of cargo while on transit.
The survey report says that, “The Kenya Revenue Authority should geofence the transit route from Mombasa to Burundi, DR Congo and Rwanda that passes through Taveta/Holili OSBP beginning with the Voi-Taveta/Holili transit section to enable tracking of cargo.”
This will also make it easy to access information for clearance of goods across all the border stations and other places in the region where the trucks/cargo passes through.
“One of the reasons that kept off transporters was the gaps we had in exchange of data used in the clearance of transit goods and poor Customs business system. We are close to resolving these issues,” said Mr Nyarandi.
Some of the issues have to do with the Single Customs Territory clearance of goods in transit to Burundi, Rwanda and DR Congo through Tanzania, where transporters are currently required to make fresh declarations and execute fresh Customs bonds by the Tanzania Revenue Authority (TRA) at Holili border station before being allowed to transit through the country.
Furthermore, some information needed to clear cargo is not reflected on the Kenya Revenue Authority computer terminals at the border making the process cumbersome.
This forced transporters to use the Northern Corridor despite the new highway being completed three years ago.
The highway was also earmarked to be one of the main feeder routes of the planned Taveta dry port in Taita-Taveta County, which is still in the planning stage.
“Heztech Engineering Ltd is on site to carry out a feasibility study and the report will be submitted soon for funding,” said the Kenya Ports Authority.