MONITORING

KRA cargo tracking cuts transit time, boost regional trade

Electronic tracking has helped eliminate theft and diversion of sensitive goods such as electronics, batteries, fuel, cigarettes,textile and beer.

In Summary

•There are an average 600 to 1,000 trucks along the corridor every day, mainly between Mombasa and Kampala.

•The Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System(RECTS) has reduced transit time between Mombasa and Kampala from an average 21 days in 2017 to an average five days.

L-R: KRA Chair Francis Muthaura,Treasury CS Ukur Yatani and KRA Commissioner General James Mburu listen to Commissioner for Customs and Border Control Kevin Safari during a past visit of the Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System at Times Tower/FILE
L-R: KRA Chair Francis Muthaura,Treasury CS Ukur Yatani and KRA Commissioner General James Mburu listen to Commissioner for Customs and Border Control Kevin Safari during a past visit of the Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System at Times Tower/FILE
Image: COURTESY

Transit  goods to Uganda and Rwanda now takes an average of four to five days after Kenya Revenue Authority introduced real-time cargo tracking.

This, according to KRA has cut transit time by more than 75 percent in return boosting trade at the Mombasa port. 

The Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System(RECTS) integrates tracking platforms in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda has reduced transit time between Mombasa and Kampala from an average 21 days in 2017.

It now takes an average three days to move cargo from Mombasa to Busia and Malaba borders.

Cargo destined for South Sudan reached Uganda's border point of Elegu in an average 3.7 days, with that heading to Burundi and DR Congo taking less than a week, compared to the previous two to three weeks.

 

This has helped address cargo delays and theft which for decades affected importers and exporters, whom have previously been paying high insurance cover for their cargo.

RECTS ensures trucks are fitted with GPRS enabled electronic seals that relay real time movement of units, content and driver's details.

In case of a breach on the seal, real time information is relayed to the Centralized Monitoring Centre's with the exact location of the truck and a Rapid Response Unit is dispatched to secure the cargo.

“We use risk management module to identify risky goods. These trucks are monitored all through to the final destination where a customs officer disarms the seal, "said Jeremiah Kosgei, head of the Centralized Monitoring Centre.

He said when a truck remains stagnant for long at one point, the driver is called to have them move. 

Kosgei said the system has reduced the cost of doing business across the Norther Corridor, through predictability and increased truck turn-around time. It has helped curb cargo diversion and dumping of goods along the corridor.

According to the Shippers Council of Eastern Africa (SCEA), road freight charges from Mombasa to Nairobi has been declining from $1,300(Sh131,235) in 2011 to an average of $ 879 (Sh87,826) in 2016 and down to the current average of Sh65,000 and Sh85,000 for a 20-ffot and 40-foot container respectively.

KRA together with the Kenya Police have units at Mazeras, Voi, Machakos, Sameer Business Park(Nairobi), Naivasha, Nakuru, Kericho, Bungoma, Kisumu and Eldoret, monitoring the Kenyan side of the Northern Corridor.

 

Uganda and Rwanda cover and respond to cases within their jurisdictions, where tracking is done by the Uganda Revenue Authority and the Rwanda Revenue Authority respectively.

“In case of a tamper, the siren notifies us and we reach to the nearest rapid response team who quickly moves in to intervene,” Kosgei said in an interview.

There are an average 600 to 1,000 trucks along the corridor every day, mainly between Mombasa and Kampala, as Uganda accounts for more than 82 per cent of transit cargo to the hinterland through the Port of Mombasa with an average annual transit traffic of 7.8 million tonnes.

“The success of the tracking system is 99.9 per cent. It has enhanced cargo security, improved transit accountability and reduced number of out standing transactions,” Kosgei said.

The RECTs has eliminated physical escorts and monitoring of sensitive cargo which includes electronics, batteries, fuel, cigarettes,textile and beer, which are prone to diversion.