Kigali — The cost of cargo haulage along the Central Corridor from Dar es Salaam Port has fallen by around 30 per cent, thanks to measures taken under a regional customs project.
It now costs $3,500 (Sh7.7 million)to transport a container from the port to Kigali, down from $5,000 (Sh11 million) before the introduction of the Single Customs Territory (SCT) of the East African Community.
The number of days it takes to move bulky imports from the port to landlocked Rwanda has fallen from 21 to five days.
"The Single Customs Territory is a blessing because it has reduced time and cost of transporting goods," Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) deputy commissioner Alex Mugibe said earlier in the week. He said although Tanzania and Rwanda have not harmonised their electronic cargo tracking systems, the flow of goods between the two countries has improved.
"Sixty-five to 70 per cent of our maritime trade volumes now pass through the Central Corridor. Dar es Salaam is importers' choice," he told journalists currently visiting selected projects within the bloc.
The situation has also improved along the Northern Corridor from Mombasa to Kigali via Uganda.
The number of days it takes to move cargo from the Kenyan port to Kigali has been reduced from 25 to seven following the introduction of a new system in which goods are cleared only once.
The SCT was rolled out in 2013 with the main aim of facilitating seamless flow of information between customs authorities and their respective payment systems for purposes of managing transfers of revenues between the EAC partner states. It seeks to eliminate or minimise restrictive regulations on goods moving from one border to another, enhance faster clearance of goods and thus reduce the cost of doing business in the region.
Mr Mugibe, who is also Rwanda's SCT coordinator, said the country would welcome plans to upgrade inland container depots in Tanzania for goods destined for Rwanda.
"There is also this standard gauge railway in Tanzania. It would be another blessing if extended to Rwanda," he said, noting that the two countries have set $152 (Sh334,000) as the road toll fee for each container.
The Central Corridor is also preferred by Burundi because it is shorter than the Northern Corridor.
The road distance between Dar es Salaam and Kigali is around 1,600 kilometres compared with nearly 2,000km between the Rwanda capital and Mombasa.
The media team was told on Monday in Kampala that only about 20 per cent of Ugandan imports from overseas were off loaded at Dar es Salaam Port with Mombasa handling 80 per cent.