Northern Corridor October 2014 Stakeholders Survey Report
A recently published report by the Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Coordination Authority highlighted positive developments with regard to the High Speed Weigh in Motion weighbridges, the rehabilitation of road infrastructure, the introduction of the electronic Single Window System, the implementation of the Electronic Cargo Tracking Systems as well as the implementation of the Single Customs Territory. But the report also highlights nine still persisting problem areas and provides suggestions for improvements on these matters
1. Exchange of information: poor interconnectivity of the electronic business systems of the stakeholders involved in the clearance of goods, intermittent network and electronic system downtimes and slow speed of systems. It is proposed to develop a single Regional Community platform for exchange of information among stakeholders.
2. Non observance of the 24/7 working schedule at some key transit nodes: Several important transit nodes such as the Port and the key border stations have been designated as 24/7 stations. However this decision is not observed by all stakeholders, including regulators (especially the standards agencies) and some private sector stakeholders. For example, in the case of the Eldoret fuel depot, it was observed that some key stakeholders do not work over the weekends, leading to long delays and safety concerns. While pushing for the observance of the 24/7 availability of the services, also facilitation of pre-clearance of fuel by the Revenue Authorities may mitigate delays.
3. Long queues of trucks at the Webuye Weighbridge Station: Too short and crossing access lanes for trucks approaching the Webuye HS-WIM weighbridge lead to ineffective operations of the weighbridge, thus frustrating efforts to reduce delays of trucks in transit. For example, trucks diverting to the static scales sometimes block the passage of those approaching the HS-WIM weighbridge thereby causing a jam. It is thus proposed to increase the length of the access lanes to the HS-WIM weighbridges.
4. Delays at the Malaba Railway OSBP Station: The Survey Team found over 100 loaded wagons in transit to Uganda which had spent five days in the Malaba railway yard. The delays were a result of the wagons arriving at Malaba railway station without the transporters copies of customs documents (exit notes/form C2) which are required by customs to interrogate their systems to clear goods. It was proposed to ask c ustom authorities to rely on information in their IT systems to clear goods rather than exclusively relying on hard copies from the transporters. In addition, copies of the exit notes/ form C2 should be provided to the train master/driver.
5. Lack of awareness about the Single Customs Territory operations: It was observed that the level of awareness of the operations of the SCT was still very low, particularly in regions outside the capitals. For example, at Malaba, most clearing agents had neither received training in ASYCUDA/SIMBA nor had they obtained passwords to enable them transact business under the SCT. It is suggested to improve the geographical coverage of sensitization on the SCT, other trade facilitation initiatives and ASYCUDA/SIMBA.