he COVID-19 crisis disrupted transport and logistics operations, leading to higher operational costs, delays, and sometimes cancellations of orders. Transit Transport cost along the Northern Corridor recorded a sharp increase because of delays across the border points.
Truck turnaround from Mombasa to Kampala reduced from 4 trips to 2 trips per month, according to a recent report to assess impact of COVID-19 on logistics that was done by Shippers Council of East Africa, Federation of East African Freight Forwarders Association (FEAFFA) and African Economic Research Consortium (AERC).
Transporters were forced to adjust rates upwards but had truck owners absorb about 48% of costs, attributed to border crossing delays to service existing transport contracts. The cost of transport from Mombasa to Kampala increased from USD 2100 to USD 2500 during the 2nd and 3rd quarter of 2020. Transit time to Kampala increased from 2 to 4 days to 7-9 days.
From Mombasa to Kigali, the cost went up from USD 3400 to USD 3800, taking between 7-9 days as opposed to the period before the pandemic of 14-16 days to move the cargo between the two stations.
From Mombasa to South Sudan, it took between 21-26 days to transport goods compared to 9-10 days before. The cost also rose significantly from USD 3600 to USD 4500. This huge delay was brought about by the crossing of two border points- between Kenya and Uganda and Uganda-South Sudan.
From Mombasa to DRC, the cost of transport increased from USD 5000 to USD 6000, with the period going up from 10 to 12 days to 30-45 days. Between Nairobi and Zambia, the transport cost went up from USD 6000-7000 with the trip taking between 30-32 days as opposed to 10-12 days before.
The cost of transport in Tanzania nearly remained almost the same, comparing 2020 to 2019 showing slight differences of both increase and decrease depending on the destination of the cargo.
For instance, the average cost from Dar es Salaam Port to Kigali reduced to $2800 from $2867 in the previous year, Dar to Bujumbura reduced from $ 3,067 to $ 2,978 while the cost from Dar to Bukavu went down from $ 4,900 to $4,856.
Recording an increase was the transport cost from Dar to Kampala, from $ 3,256 to $ 3,333 and the transport cost from Dar to Goma from $ 4,189 to $ 4,278.
Until recently, Tanzania did not adopt strict measures such as lockdown as its counterparts in East Africa during the better part of last year.