Uganda will extend its Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) into Kenyan as part of strategy to curb theft and diversion of goods destined for its market through the port of Mombasa.
Uganda Revenue Authority said the two countries had struck a deal on the scheme to be implemented in a few months.
“We are currently finalising the cost estimates of the requirements. Thereafter, we will do the procurements and go ahead with full implementation,” the commissioner for customs, Richard Kamajugo said.
The main transit routes to Uganda from the port of Mombasa have been mapped for coverage by the Internet-based tracking system.
“When all is done, goods destined to Uganda will be monitored all the way from Mombasa and Nairobi in Kenya up to their destinations in Uganda,” the official said.
The tracking system is already active in Uganda where it was launched in May 2014. It comprises satellites, a central monitoring centre and special electronic seals fitted on cargo containers and trucks, which give the precise location of goods in real time.
The system triggers an alarm whenever there is diversion from the designated route, an unusually long stopover or when someone attempts to open a container.
Besides curbing theft of cargo, the system also helps to seal loopholes that cause the country losses in revenue through suspected under-declaration of the value of exports or theft of cargo.
“Over the past few months of implementation, the system has helped to foil highway robberies among other anomalies before cargo gets to its destination or crosses the border into another country,” Mr Kamajugo said.
Kenya is a key gateway to the region in that the port of Mombasa handles imports such as fuel and consumer goods for Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia and exports of tea and coffee from the region.
“In addition to customs, the system will also provide real time information on the location and status of the cargo to transporters and cargo owners or their agents as the goods are transported along the 1,200km journey from Mombasa to Kampala. Before the introduction of the technology, one could only know the location of transiting cargo by calling the driver,” he added.
Mr Kamajugo said the implementation of the electronic tracking system had also helped traders in Uganda cut the cost of doing business.
“Following its implementation, the benefits are evident in terms of predictability of arrival of goods, reduced transit time which will further reduce the cost of doing business and real time intervention in case of attempted theft.”
Kenya introduced electronic tracking system in July 2009 as it intensified its purge against dumping of transit goods in the local market.
Source: Business Daily
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