The Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Co-ordination Authority (NCTTCA) says Tanzania is dragging its feet on geofencing a section of Singida-Kobero highway that would allow Kenya to use the new Voi-Taveta-Singida-Kobero link road.
A road is considered geofenced when it has inspection points and cargo passing through it can be tracked electronically for taxation and avoidance of dumping of goods in a country. Geofencing guards against theft and loss of cargo while on transit.
The NCTTCA said the delay is working against importers of cargo through the port of Mombasa destined to south Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda who now opt to use a much longer route to import through the port of Dar es Salaam.
Speaking in Mombasa at the launch of training of heavy truck drivers, NCTTCA chief executive Omae Nyarandi said the delay is frustrating s section of importers using the Central Corridor.
“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 southern Tanzania and Bujumbura from the Mombasa port. But traders cannot use it since Tanzanian side has not been geo-fenced,” said Mr Nyarandi.
He added, “Tanzania needs to agree to geofence so that we can use the single Customs facility to traverse its territory. We have put this to the East African Community through the Council of Ministers to compel Tanzania to geofence so that we can use the regional electronic tracking systems, which are used in the single Customs territory to enable them pass through Tanzania.”
Already, the Kenya Revenue Authority has geofenced Voi-Taveta side but the Tanzania Revenue Authority is yet to do so to make the new link road more viable despite being completed in 2018.
The link road — Voi-Taveta-Singida-Kobero highway — is an alternative between Mombasa and Bujumbura as EAC partner states enhance Customs management systems to reduce bottlenecks. The highway is also earmarked as 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 is on site to carry out a feasibility study and the report will be submitted to Kenya’s Treasury for funding.
In the past few years, Kenya has registered increased business with traders ferrying cargo to northern Tanzania through the Voi-Taveta road.
NCTTCA says the new route will enable Mombasa handle more cargo currently served by Dar es Salaam.
Nyarandi said 98 percent of Burundi cargo totalling 500,000 tonnes, and 70 percent of Rwanda’s goes through Dar es Salaam port, leaving Mombasa to handle only 30 percent.
“Rwanda, DRC and Burundi prefer the Dar port because the distance is shorter, and they cross only one border but on Mombasa and Northern Corridor, you must pass through two borders. However, with the new corridor, more traders will opt to use Mombasa port because it is a shorter distance,” said Nyarandi.
Mombasa only handles Eastern DRC’s 40 percent share of Congo cargo but it also benefits from the eight million tonnes of Ugandan cargo, which represents 98 percent of its imports.