News & Information



18
December
2020

The Northern Corridor Performance declines marginally due to COVID-19


By: TTCA
Summary/Brief
Like every other economic sector, the Northern Corridor received its fair share of challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, with cross-border transit transport and trade almost grinding to a halt. The pandemic posed unprecedented questions as to how to facilitate the movement of goods while ensuring safety and preventing international transmission of the disease. Lack of harmonised mechanisms to respond to the challenges posed an even greater challenge.


Like every other economic sector, the Northern Corridor received its fair share of challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, with cross-border transit transport and trade almost grinding to a halt. The pandemic posed unprecedented questions as to how to facilitate the movement of goods while ensuring safety and preventing international transmission of the disease. Lack of harmonised mechanisms to respond to the challenges posed an even greater challenge.

The Northern Corridor Performance Dashboard report reveals just how much the pandemic took a toll on activities along the corridor.

The report covering the months of January to September 2020 reveals that the aggregate port throughput registered a marginal decline of 2% from 25.6 million Metric Tonnes (MT) in 2019 to 25.1 million MT in 2020, 10.3 million MT shy of the Mombasa Port and Northern Corridor Community Charter (MPNCCC) target for the year 2020. The decline was attributed to shrinking trade volumes occasioned by the reduction in economic activities in all countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Imports accounted for 82% of the total throughput for the period while exports accounted for only 13%, transshipments accounted for 6% and restows 0.3%. The share of exports increased by 10% in September 2020 compared to January 2020; an indication that import trade has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic than export trade.

On port productivity and efficiency, the report indicates that Average Container Import Dwell Time improved from 109 hours in July 2020 to 99 hours in September 2020, however a drop compared with the same quarter in 2019. Average ship turnaround time improved, fluctuating from 99 hours in January to 75 hours in September 2020. However, the month of April recorded the longest dwell time at 111 hours.

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COVID-19 posed unprecedented challenges with cross-border transit transport and trade almost grinding to a halt

Along the corridor, statistics for the period January to September indicate that all destinations from Mombasa witnessed higher transit times. On the one hand, transit times from Mombasa to Malaba in Kenya, under RECTS regime, ranged from 152 hours in January to 132 hours in September, recording the highest in April, May and June with 243, 312, and 237 hours respectively. On the other hand, transit times from Mombasa to Busia varied from 90 hours in January to a high 108 hours in September 2020 with April May and June recording transit times above 300 hours, more than triple the Charter targets.

Based on the Mombasa Port and Northern Corridor Community Charter, the set target for transit time from Mombasa to Malaba is 60 hours by December 2020; and from Mombasa to Busia is 65 hours by December 2020.

Transit times from Mombasa to Elegu increased from 91 hours in January to 161 in September. From Mombasa to Kampala fluctuated from 156 hours in January to 171 hours in September, and Mombasa to Kigali 167 hours in January to 225 in September 2020. Further, the reports reveal that transit times in Burundi went to a high of 282 hours.

The high transit times manifested due to increased traffic at the borders with increased times for processing COVID-19 attestation forms which were made a mandatory requirement for one to traverse in and out of the different territories.

The performance reports noted that the performance of the Northern Corridor since January 2020 was adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic with regional and country-specific containment measures including lockdowns, curfews, social distancing measures, relay trucking, and mandatory testing for truckers precipitating delays.

As a way forward, the reports have proposed among other interventions the need for to increased coordination, cooperation and integration of information systems; harmonisation and simplification of documents, processes and procedures required for trade, transport, sanitary and phytosanitary inspection; and mutual recognition of licenses, certificates, insurance and other transport and trade-related documents. Besides, data from the Transport Observatory will serve to identify bottlenecks and guide collective efforts and development of robust systems for early detection and interventions, to assist in the post-COVID-19 recovery process and making the Northern Corridor resilient to future disruptions.





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