PUBLISHED ON July 25th, 2014


Disparities in the cost of leasing electronic cargo tracking gadgets is causing jitters among transit cargo transporters who are demanding for the charges to be harmonized.

The East African Community states rolled out the electronic cargo tracking system (ECTS) to curb theft and dumping of cargo in transit thereby reducing revenue losses that accrue from the diversion of transit goods.

The technology involves installing electronic tracking devices on cargo trucks, enabling the owners of the goods and revenue bodies to track the movement of the goods. The ECTS provides updates on the position of the vehicle, its speed and the status of the container in real time.

The regional governments require track owners to hire the gadget. However, transporters are concerned that the high cost of tracking cargo will have a ripple effect on the price of goods — a cost that the consumer will ultimately pay for.

On the Northern Corridor, the transporters are charged $2,500 (Rwf1.7 million) per annum to lease the electronic cargo tracking gadgets while their counterparts on the Central Corridor pay $1,440 (Rwf978,000) per annum.

The figure was reached on assumption that in a month a single track can make four trips, either from the Kenyan port of Mombasa or Dar es Salaam port in Tanzania to Kigali.

The transporter on the Northern Corridor will pay $52 per trip while the one who uses the Central Corridor pays $30 per trip.

“We want the fee harmonised,” said Theodore Murenzi of Rwanda Long Distance Truck Drivers Union.

“We recently met the authorities of the Northern Corridor and told them to reduce the fees to match those for Tanzania,” said Mr Murenzi.

Importers say the high cost could see them divert their goods from the port of Mombasa to the Dar es Salaam Port.

The Rwanda Revenue Authority commissioner-general Richard Tusabe said that despite the current technical glitches, which are temporary, once the system is fully implemented at the regional level it is likely to lower transport costs, which will translate to reduced prices of the final goods.

Trade Mark East Africa ( TMA ), the sponsor of the electronic cargo tracking system in Uganda and Kenya, is concerned about the cost of installing the gadget on tracks.

“The purpose of cargo tracking is to reduce waiting times and ultimately bring down the cost of transport and final goods in East Africa,” said John Bosco Kalisa project manager TradeMark Africa (TMA) Rwanda.

The Mombasa Port is becoming popular with Rwandan importers due to the increasing volume of cargo that the port handles.

Source: The East African

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TradeMark Africa.