News & Information



04
May
2020

Impact of Covid-19 on Transit Transport in the Northern Corridor region


By: TTCA
Summary/Brief
The assessment of the Covid 19 impact made by the Northern Corridor Secretariat on transit transport in the Northern Corridor Region in terms of key indicators from the Northern Corridor Transport Observatory revealed that the response by the regional Governments, Companies and Organizations over the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly impacted the transport sector and the supply chain. These responses and restrictions are meant to “flatten the curve” by reducing or slowing down the escalating infection and mortality rates in our region.


The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) which was declared as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11th March 2020 has continued to spread across the world and in the Northern Corridor region. The Covid-19 pandemic is having a devastating effect on people worldwide and in the region. According to Johns Hopkins University, more than 3.5 million people have been infected and at least 249,000 people have died worldwide and figures are increasing day by day.

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Covid-19 Mass Driver Testing and Clearance at the border crossing to be fast-tracked to avoid delays. 

The assessment of the Covid 19 impact made by the Northern Corridor Secretariat on transit transport in the Northern Corridor Region in terms of key indicators from the Northern Corridor Transport Observatory revealed that the response by the regional Governments, Companies and Organizations over the COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly impacted the transport sector and the supply chain. These responses and restrictions are meant to “flatten the curve” by reducing or slowing down the escalating infection and mortality rates in our region.

The pandemic has forced Governments to respond with travel restrictions and bans to minimize the spread of the disease from Country to Country. They have also enacted domestic measures such as social distancing, mandatory curfews, and lockdowns.

The COVID-19 disease was first reported in China in December 2019. The Northern Corridor region started registering cases in March 2020. However, Countries had put in place measures to prevent the spread before March 2020.

According to the Northern Corridor Transport Observatory, the port dwell time has not been adversely affected by the pandemic, though a slight increase in the cargo dwell time has been registered compared to general performance for the year 2019. The Mombasa Port, being an essential service provider has been operating 24/7 during the period of Covid-19 pendemic to ensure business continuity.

Most of the Agencies involved in the clearing of goods at the Port have continued to work during this period.

To ensure operations are not interrupted, the Port in conjunction with the Port Public Health officers’ procedures handle vessels when they arrive were instituted including but not limited to;

  • Mandatory Pre-Arrival Reporting on board must be undertaken at least 48 hours before the vessel arrival in Kenya’s territorial waters.  Masters of ships must therefore submit a duly completed and compulsory Maritime Declaration of Health form to the Port Health officer.
  • All arriving vessels with crew/passengers with recent travel history to countries with confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past 14 days must undergo special monitoring
  • Every ship entering Kenya from a country with confirmed cases of COVID-19 is subjected to rigorous inspection at the designated location as directed by the Harbor Master in consultations with Port Health Office.
  • Crew/passengers of vessels from confirmed COVID-19 countries are not granted   shore   passes. Only   Kenyans   and   foreigners   with   valid residence   permits will   be allowed to disembark after presentation of Health Declaration forms and by the health Authorities.
  • All visitors (dockworkers, agents, surveyors, port state inspectors) to a ship from countries confirmed with COVID-19 cases must be informed about the precautionary measures while on board.
  • Masters of all ships due to arrive in a Kenyan port are required to declare their last 10 ports of call or voyage   memo for the last three months, whichever is higher, and confirm that there is no crew showing symptoms of COVID-19 on board.
  • Suspension of crew change and bagging services.

During the period January-March 2020, the number of ships calling at the Mombasa port has not changed compared to the year 2019. However, the number was expected to be higher in the year 2020 if it was not for the Pandemic. Vessel Waiting time before berth performance was also still within the expected time frame.

During the first three months of the year 2020 (January, February, March), a total of 137,713 trucks were weighed at the Mariakani weighbridge. The average daily traffic going to Malaba via Webuye was 821 trucks in April 2020.

The new measures to combat the spread of the virus require the temperature of the truck crew to be taken at entry Point and thereafter at designated weighbridges at Athiriver, Busia, Gilgil, and Mariakani. Testing for COVID-19 is also done before the crew commences journey from Kenya, furthermore, all truck crew entering Kenya are tested at the border post of entry.

A being observed, the Coronavirus disease has become a severe pandemic and poses many serious challenges in transport in the region. Since more Countries have put up strict measures affecting transport during the month of March 2020, a clear picture will be shown as more data is made available along the Corridor in the coming days.

Apart from trucks long queues at border points, there is a delay in the return of empty containers at the Port which attracts retention charges by the shipping lines.

Trade and transport is vital for the region during the covid-19 pandemic to enable get the necessary provisions to fight the pandemic as well as not to suffocate our economies. A regional approach to response to Covid-2019 is necessary too fast-track driver mass testing and clearance of goods at boder posts.

The Northern Corridor Secretariat continues to urge stakeholders to provide protective equipment and hygiene facilities at all transport nodes such as the Port, Weighbridges, Inland Container Depots, and Border points.

In collaboration with Transport operators, the Northern Corridor Secretariat is devising ways to implement a sustained sensitization program for Transit operators and their employees; with a coordinated approach and harmonization in the region especially on policies affecting Corridor transport, co-ordination mechanisms for identifying and monitoring the spread of the outbreak as well as mapping out policy responses by the individual Member States, and within the Northern Corridor.

On Post-pandemic action, the transport sector will be extremely affected by responses to this pandemic. The Northern Corridor Secretariat should fast-track the programs such as well coordinated jjoint border committees and Road Side Stations and wellness centres equipped with health facilities that enables to fight communicable diseases such as Covid-19, ebola, HIV/AIDs, etc.

 





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