Northern Corridor members’ states are closely monitoring developments in the Kenyan political environment with fears that disruptions would negatively affect the supply chain along the transport route that is still recovering from the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Northern Corridor is an important transport route to Kenya, Burundi, eastern DR Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda.
Kenya Private Sector Alliance (Kepsa), the umbrella body for all private businesses in the country, has said it will work with security agencies under the ‘Mkenya Daima’ initiative to deal with any post poll threats along the corridor that could see the port of Mombasa lose business to Dar es Salaam.
“So far we don’t have any indications of any disruptions but we are monitoring closely,” Kepsa CEOe Carol Kariuki told The EastAfrican last week.
Kenya’s Ministry of Trade and Industry also indicated there are no signs of a possible disruption along the corridor due to the forthcoming elections.
According to the Northern Corridor Quarterly performance dashboard (October–December) in 2021 the member states’ exports to the world increased by 10 percent in 2021 compared to 2020 and are projected to grow in 2022.
The total trade along the corridor stood at around $ 3.17 billion in 2020, with formal trade between Kenya and Uganda accounting for 32 percent, followed by trade between DRC and Rwanda at 19.1 percent of the total trade within the region. Kenya was the single largest exporter.
The report prepared by the Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Coordination Authority shows that in the three months to December 2021, transit times on most of the routes along the Northern Corridor worsened, with the transit time from Mombasa to Malaba increasing to 230 hours from 146 hours largely due to many stops as well as border crossing delays occasioned by Covid-19 testing.
Average ship turnaround time at the port of Mombasa declined by 34 percent to 79 hours compared to the same period in 2020 and the average Container Import Dwell Time also worsened to 97 hours from 76 hours in November 2021.
Total cargo through the port declined to 31.9 million metric tonnes in 2021 from 34.1 million metric tonnes in 2020 and 34.4 million metric tonnes in 2019.