The New Times (Kigali)

10 December 2012

Rwanda: New Regional Project to Ease Transport Costs

Transportation of goods on the Northern Corridor is set to be eased after the introduction of Transport Observatory Project that will see all the trucks electronically monitored to detect the causes of delays on the corridor.

The progamme that was launched in Mombasa last week is funded by TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) and is spearheaded by Transit Transport Coordination Authority (TTCA) of the Northern Corridor (TTCA) and Kenya Transport Association.

Under the project trucks equipped with Global Positioning system (GPS) devices will be recording whenever the truck is stopped on the way.

Drivers will be given the forms where they will be writing the reasons why they are stopped.

It means that if the truck driver is stopped at any check point, the driver will have to record the reason he is stopped as the device records the period and then the record will be taken to the secretariat.

The delays will be analysed using a set of indicators disaggregated by cause, location, date, time of day as well as, define parameters such as direction of travel, country of origin of vehicles and types of cargo. The data collected will be stored in a database for analysis and dissemination.

Information analysed from this process will be disseminated to partner states through various government agencies, private sector and civil society organisations and the media, with the view of informing decision making, problem solving and policy formulation towards the improvement of the Northern Corridor's performance.

The Northern Corridor, which is commonly used by importers and exporters in Rwanda, is used by trucks ferrying goods to or from the port of Mombasa.

The project was launched by the council of ministers of transport from the member countries served by the corridor including Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Kenya and DRC.

During the meeting south Sudan was also admitted as a member.

Speaking during the launch Donat Bagula the executive secretary of TTCA -Northern corridor described the project as a significant tool that will spur the flow of goods and ease the doing business on the corridor.

"The transport observatory is a critical operational tool for the monitoring of the Northern corridor's performance and will provide continuous and up to date information on delays, transport costs, and capacity and infrastructure quality," he said.

"Having four components, the transport observatory will combine outputs of the computerised data collection ,GPS data collection, questionnaire based road survey and specific audits at nodes to identify problems and the effects of policies on the corridor in a timely, accurate and consisted manner", he added.

Addressing journalists after the launch, Dr Alex Nzahabwanimana the state minister in charge of transport expressed optimism over the project's role adding that it would help the region.

"The project is the foundation of the development of this corridor. It has always been reported that this route possess more barriers to trade...it is therefore important to analyze the data and then get an informed solution," he said.

A survey by TradeMark East Africa indicates that it currently takes about 15 days for an importer to receive his goods at the port and have them delivered to him.

The delay is normally caused by police check points, weighbridges, custom checks points, border post procedures and other related non tariff barriers that hinders the transporters.

The survey also indicates that the transit cargo to Rwanda reduced marginally in the last two years. In 2010 the total transit volume to Rwanda was at 229317.69 tons in 2011 it was at 216305.21 and in 2012 it reduced to 128173.32 meaning the other cargo was coming from Dar port in Tanzania.

In other countries the total cargo volume continued to diminish whereby Burundi's cargo volume that passes through the Mombasa port reduced from 16568.65 tonnes in 2009 to 1289.87 in 2012.

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