News & Information



25
November
2020

Transport Observatory Continues to facilitate development along the Northern Corridor


By: TTCA
Summary/Brief
The Northern Corridor Transport Observatory has continued to facilitate increased development and improved performance of the Port of Mombasa and the entire Northern Corridor route. Emerging as an effort to address the specific challenges faced by landlocked developing countries in East Africa, the Northern Corridor Transport Observatory has greatly revolutionized trade facilitation.


The Northern Corridor Transport Observatory has continued to facilitate increased development and improved performance of the Port of Mombasa and the entire Northern Corridor route. Emerging as an effort to address the specific challenges faced by landlocked developing countries in East Africa, the Northern Corridor Transport Observatory has greatly revolutionised trade facilitation.

With an initial aim of reducing the disadvantages associated with the remoteness of the countries including longer importing or exporting times and relatively higher costs, the Transport Observatory has evolved to become an effective and focused way to address both intra-regional and international trade. Its scope has also evolved from a pure transit facilitation perspective to a broader perspective encompassing regional trade facilitation but still hinged on offering an efficient logistics system to promote trade and development.

Data-driven trade facilitation generated in form of weekly, monthly, quarterly and bi-annual reports by the Northern Corridor Transport Observatory from raw data provided by Stakeholders has significantly contributed to the enhanced efficiency of the port and development of the port and corridor infrastructure leading to increased throughput. The wealth of information recorded, and tools, instruments and methods applied have informed the establishment of other Transport Observatories including the Central Corridor.

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The Transport Observatory also encompass regional trade facilitation but still hinged on offering an efficient logistics system to promote trade and development.

Additionally, informed policies and decision from liable data have enabled the improvement of infrastructure and reduction of Non-Tariff Barriers to transport and trade which has led to enhanced efficiency of the Northern Corridor.

Over the years, the recommendations made through the Transport Observatory coupled with the commitment and role of the Member States has ushered tremendous gains for the corridor including enhanced cooperation among the Member States; establishment of and monitoring the implementation of the Mombasa Port and Northern Corridor Community Charter (MPNCCC); monitoring the implementation of the Vehicle Load Control (VLC) Charter and its Communication Strategy; establishment of Sustainable Green Freight Transport Programme; establishment of the Roadside Stations Programme; development of Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System; establishment One Stop Border Posts (OSBPs) initiatives; and the implementation of COMESA Trade Facilitation Instruments, among others.

More specifically, the region has witnessed enhanced efficiency of the Port of Mombasa and infrastructure developments at the port, faster clearance of goods with the implementation of the Single Customs Territory (SCT) across the region, and installation of the High-Speed Weigh in Motion (HSWIM) improving the weighbridge crossing time. Currently, 23 OSBPs have been identified across the region with 15 OSBPs already established. Business processes have also been significantly automated and the quality of road conditions along the Corridor improved.

Also, in support of the MPNCCC, the Transport Observatory has continued to enhance the efficiency, effectiveness, reliability and global competitiveness of the Port of Mombasa and the Northern Corridor. Under the Charter, safety has been promoted through identification of safety indicators that enabled NCTTCA to map out black spots along the Corridor and lobby institutions in Member States to consider ways of improving road safety.

The Transport Observatory informed the need of Northern Corridor Public-Private Partnership Committee Meetings under which programmes like RSS are being pushed. The Observatory has become part of the Northern Corridor Integration Projects (NCIP) informing high-level policymakers on the performance of the Corridor through the Single Customs Territory (SCT).

The Observatory informs development partners like the World Bank; the African Development Bank (AfDB); United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA); Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA); TMEA; United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD); among others on the impact of their interventions.

Under the COVID-19 pandemic, the Transport Observatory has continued to be a vital performance monitoring and reporting tool. In spite of the achievements, the Observatory has also revealed how much transit transport and trade has been affected by the pandemic.

Data from the Quarterly Report show that Mombasa Port throughput for the period January to September 2020 stood at 22.3 million metric tonnes (MT), a marginal decline by 0.4 million MT in 2020 when compared to the same period in 2019 which registered cumulative throughput of 22.7 million MT. MPNCCC targets to attain port throughput of 35.90 million tons by December 2020. Imports accounted for 82% while exports accounted for only 13%, transhipment constituted 6% and restows 0.3% percent of the total throughput. The share of exports increased by 10% in September 2020 compared to January 2020 revealing a hard-hit import trade.

Since the onset of the pandemic, movement of goods has been slowing down on the Northern Corridor routes.  For instance, transit time from Mombasa to Malaba and Busia rose to 228 hours and 402 hours in September 2020 from 116 hours and 98 hours respectively in January 2020. The pandemic and containment measures stifled domestic activity and disrupted trade and transportation with different entry and exit points still experiencing traffic congestion.

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Different entry and exit points in the region are still experiencing traffic congestion.

Further, intraregional trade for exports has had an adverse effect on export earnings due to weak demand in these markets. According to UNCTAD’s new Global Trade Update, Global trade recorded a 5% drop in the third quarter of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019. However, some of the containment measures have since been relaxed to slowly open the economies to growth.

The output from the Transport Observatory underscores the importance of Transport Observatories in informing the process of development of resilience in the transport corridors.

With the process of upgrading its monitoring and reporting toolkit currently ongoing, the Transport Observatory envisions robust, flexible and adaptable monitoring and reporting system for all stakeholders. With increased automation, the benefits of the Transport Observatory for the Member States cannot be overstated.





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