takeholders involved in cargo movement across the East African region have spelt out a number of policy measures that needs to be implemented to enhance seamless flow of the goods.
They issued these measures when they met Kenya’s Ministry of East Africa and Regional Development Principal Secretary Dr. Kevit Desai in Mombasa. The meeting was organized by Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and Kenya Transporters Association (KTA).
Other agencies in attendance included Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), Kenya Ships Agents Association (KSAA), Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (KIFWA), East African Tea Trade Association (EATTA), Shippers Council of East Africa (SCEA) and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).
The meeting proposed standardization of the axle load across the East Africa Community and fully implementation of axle load regulations.
Truck drivers in East Africa are required to adhere to the harmonised EAC axle load regulations in an effort by partner states to bring down transport costs and check overloading that destroys roads. The law compels truck drivers to observe an axle gross vehicle weight limit of 56 tonnes.
At 95 percent, Kenya leads the regional counterparts in compliance. In 2014 the country did a serious campaign which led to the development of axle load weight control self-regulatory charter.
The charter was developed by agencies involved in cargo clearance after realizing that the punitive fines were not deterrent enough to root out overloading.
Northern Corridor Transit Transit and Transport Coordination Authority (NCTTCA) in conjunction with stakeholders in Uganda including Uganda National Roads Authority and the Ministry of Works and Transport announced plans last year to step-up compliance campaigns. According to Aloys Rusagara, Head of Transport policy and planning at NCTTCA, compliance in Uganda is on the rise and stood at 30 percent by last year.
Apart from Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW), Kenya also enforces the axle load limit. Any truck that is flagged for overloading at the High Speed Weight in Motion bridges is required to weigh axle load at the weighbridges.
The meeting also recommended full implementation of Data Protection Act no. 24 of 2019 to safeguard the privacy of institutions and individuals.
KPA was also asked to allow transit truck drivers to access the port without the Covid 19 certificate. This requirement, according to a statement by KTA CEO Mr Dennis Ombok, was subjecting drivers to stigmatization.
EAC partners have also been asked to harmonize Covid 19 regulations and the requirement to present COVID 19 certificates by the drivers to be stopped since EAC has become a Single Customs Territory.
Last year, the EAC, with the support of Trademark East Africa (TMEA) rolled out Regional Electronic Cargo and Drivers Tracking System (RECDTS) which issues electronic Covid 19 certificates recognized across the region.
The stakeholders also want Kenya Nation Highway Authority (KeNHA) to implement presidential directive requiring trucks to be weighed once- at both the entry and exit points. The weighbridges should also be upgraded to High-Speed Weigh in Motion and the information made available to all weighbridges officials across the East Africa region
The meeting proposed amendment of some sections of the East Africa Community Customs Management Act to facilitate cargo clearance processes. Stakeholders cited some clauses in section 34 as an impediment to pre-arrival cargo clearance.