he Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) spelt out by the logistics industry stakeholders to contain the spread of Covid 19 through EAC’s supply chain as the industry copes with the ‘new normal’ are being finalized.
Materials for sensitization campaign have already been developed and reviewed by the industry stakeholders including the East African Community (EAC), the East African Business Council (EABC) and World Health Organization (WHO) representatives in the region.
“EAC has so far given its input on the Covid-19 SOPs and the sensitization materials. WHO have also reviewed the COVID19 messages to be used in the sensitization of campaign as other stakeholders share their input before full roll-out soon,” Fred Seka, Federation of East African Freight Forwarders Associations (FEAFFA) president said.
Since the COVID19 messages have been sanctioned by WHO, FEAFFA will work closely with the Ministries of Health in each partner state and other industry stakeholders to complement efforts geared towards stopping the spread of the virus especially among the customs agents, freight forwarders, warehouse operators and truckers, added Seka.
“Furthermore, the messages are customized in adherence to partner states’ protocols and EAC guidelines on COVID19,” Seka said.
Trademark East Africa (TMEA) is supporting the initiative through FEAFFA, the regional apex body of freight forwarders in East Africa. It is being rolled out in collaboration with the Kenya Transporters Association (KTA), Regional Lorry Drivers and Drivers Association (RLDA), Tanzania Truck Owners Association (TATOA) and Transporters Association of Tanzania (TAT).
Other collaborators include the Association des Transporteurs Internationauz du Burundi (ATIB) and Association de Transporateurs et Transitaires Agrees du Rwanda (ATAR).
The SOPs were developed by a team of experts in cargo transport, Warehousing, Freight Forwarding, Customs clearance and Public health.
Logistic players have remained critical in ensuring sustenance of supply chain and provision of essential goods in the region. This has helped the EAC to have raw materials for vital components of the economy and availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to fight Covid19.
“The SOPs will guide all day-to-day activities to ensure seamless movement of goods and services across the borders, support efforts by EAC Partner States in harmonizing regional approaches against Covid19 as well as support the regional and global protocols to tackle the pandemic’’ Seka added.
The latest data indicates that the Covid19 is likely to remain with us in coming days hence the need to ensure strong vigilance and avoid compromising the gains the industry has so far made.
Kenya is the biggest transit market for Uganda that constitutes about 30 percent of the total cargo volume through Mombasa port. Rwanda and South Sudan also use Mombasa port- importing a significant proportion of their imports through the facility.
The drop of the cargo volumes passing through the port of Mombasa is a good indicator of the impact of Covid 19. The facility has recorded a significant drop in the recent months due to strict Covid19 restrictions being employed on the global supply chain with regional landlocked neighbours shying away from importing cargo due to the prevailing high costs associated with movement delays.
The total export cargo volume handled by the Mombasa port in the first six months dropped by 8 percent. The Northern Corridor report indicates that the overall performance of the port fell by 5 per cent, from 14.3 million metric tonnes in 2019 to 13.6 million metric tonnes in the mid of 2020, with imports accounting for 82 per cent of the total cargo handled.
Uganda’s Ministry of Health on recently reported 318 new COVID-19 cases, the country’s highest daily total since it recorded its first case.
Uganda has now recorded a total of about 2,300 cases. Kampala, which has the highest numbers of community transmissions.,.
The upsurge in Covid-19 cases in Rwanda has continued as the country this week registered a record-breaking 200 new cases in a single day and crossed the 3,000-mark of confirmed cases.
From a pick of over 700 cases earlier, the number of Covid19 cases reported in Kenya has significantly dropped to less than 300 cases.
Tanzania is yet to release new official figures on Covid19 testing. The last detailed figures, published on 29 April, reported 480 cases and 21 deaths.