Importers in Rwanda bank on GPS use

Friday November 13 2020
Tanzania-Rwanda border at Rusumo.

An estimated 150 trucks and tankers use the Rusumo crossing at the border of Rwanda and Tanzania daily. PHOTO | FILE | NMG

By Johnson Kanamugire

Rwandan importers are banking on the use of GPS tracking system starting this month to address delays at the Rusumo border due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The system will stop the need for swapping of drivers at the Rusumo crossing at the border of Rwanda and Tanzania, which was taking between three to four days. The system will monitor both trucks and drivers through their mobile phone for potential diversion or stops at non-designated locations as part of measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 along the key import corridor. It is estimated that an average of 150 trucks and tankers use the corridor daily.

“It was taking eight to 10 days of waiting at a quarantine centre for a vehicle to arrive at Kiyanzi and then between two to three days of waiting for a driver from Kigali,” said Moses Mayunga, a cargo driver with TransAfrica Transport and Logistics Ltd.

The Rwanda transporters’ association head Abdou Ndaru said the system has reduced cargo waiting time at the border from two to three days to just four hours.


The GPS tracking system will also solve a long-standing impasse between Rwanda and Tanzania over Covid-19 certificates. The impasse was disproportionately affecting Rwanda, which is a net importer from the region with over 60 per cent of its cargo coming through the port of Dar-es salaam.


Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation postponed a meeting in Tanzania to negotiate better terms over the handling of cross-border cargo trucks.

“Due to ongoing elections, we postponed the meeting to sometime in the coming weeks. We intend to meet the port authority, the transporters’ association, Tanzania private sector federation and agencies in charge of East Africa Community Affairs,” said Joseph Akumuntu, head of commerce and services Chamber at Rwanda’s Private Sector Federation.