The EAC-backed regional electronic cargo and driver tracking system rolled out July 18 has hit a wall as Kenya Transporters Association (KTA) and Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) resisted implementation, albeit for different reasons.
“Tanzania was not yet prepared to engage its ports operations under the planned system and that it was an idea which was earlier raised by the Kenyan government,” TPA director general Deusdedit Kakoko told The EastAfrican in Dar es Salaam on Thursday.
KTA executive officer Dennis Ombok on the other hand said they have not been trained on usage of the system and need time to familiarise themselves with it.
Speaking to The EastAfrican last week, Mr Ombok said; “The launch is premature as we need some time for training on how to use it. It involved downloading an app in a smartphone and the one-week piloting is a short time considering most drivers are not conversant with the system while some cannot even use a smartphone effectively.”
He added, “If they go ahead with it, it will be one of trade barriers they have introduced since it will take time to align cargo, driver and truck to the system as it is required before the cargo is taken from any port facility.”
Officially known as the Regional Electronic Cargo and Drivers Tracking System (RECDTS), it was launched last week. This means, no transit cargo will leave either the port of Dar es Salam, Mombasa or any other Kenya Ports Authority facility without a driver being aligned with the system.
Among other things, the system requires all users to share their Covid-19 test results electronically to facilitate easy information exchange along the Central and Northern corridors.
It will be hosted at EAC headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania, and will share a truck driver's information leveraging on the system that is already managed and operated by revenue authorities in the region, and the existing health information systems.
Once a cargo crew is tested, an electronic medical certificate is generated that will remain valid for 14 days and will be accessible electronically at the designated sites of screening, across the partner states that the driver or crew will use during transit.
The platform will bring on board truck owners or companies so that information can be shared across the board so that in case a truck driver tests positive in another country the system notifies the health authorities of the driver's originating country.
Each trucking company will have an account with all the details of their fleet and authorised personnel uploaded onto the platform. Each trucking company or owner will ensure that each driver and crew in each vehicle have an activated app downloaded into the mobile phone (android-based).
EAC Deputy Secretary General Christophe Bazivamo already issued a notice to relevant ministers and member countries.
The implementation comes after Presidents Paul Kagame, Yoweri Museveni, Uhuru Kenyatta and Salva Kiir agreed to adopt the system during a virtual conference on May 12, to discuss the Covid-19 pandemic response in the region.
Additional reporting by Emmanuel Onyango