Address inefficiencies on Northern Corridor

Wednesday, November 29th, 2023 06:01 | By
North Corridor road. PHOTO/ Research Gate
North Corridor road. PHOTO/ Research Gate

Whereas it is all agreed that weigh bridges and police roadblocks erected on the busy Northern Corridor have helped control overloading by heavy trucks, the same has been blamed for raising the cost of doing business.

A number of transporters have previously blamed the several weigh bridges and police road blocks on the corridor for causing unnecessary gridlocks inconveniencing other road users on about 1,700km stretch from the Mombasa port through Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) .

Transporters have complained of unnecessary road tolls, multiple border charges, heavy traffic and poor road conditions as major cost drivers on the Northern Corridor. It is noteworthy that most of the police road blocks, usually mounted less than 50km apart, usually concentrate on long distance truck drivers, whom the officers extort bribes from in the pretext of cracking down on traffic offenders.

On the other hand, there are more than 10 weigh bridges on the corridor, with only Mariakani, Athi River, Gilgil and Webuye using high speed weigh motion machines and multi-deck scales while others such as the Malaba and Salgaa weigh bridges are manually operated, causing massive delays.

The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), which has been the most vocal in the push to have the stations reduced says the government should consider reducing the number of weigh bridges from the current six to two.
Other players have recommended the introduction of all custom-sealed containerised transit cargo that would only be weighed at the first weighbridge encountered after leaving Mombasa Port or point of loading and at the last weighbridge at the point of exit from the border.

This system would be supplemented with the use of Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System to reduce truck turnaround time as well as corruption and traffic-snarl ups along the highway.

It is out of this growing concern that Kenya’s National Assembly Committee on Regional Integration has proposed to have the road blocks removed to ease movement of goods.

The team wants all the road barriers removed and other business friendly means introduced. Though there have been several recommendations previously made to improve on the transport on the Northern Corridor, most of the proposals have ended up gathering dust on shelves in government offices. Time to act is now to address the inefficiencies on the Northern Corridor.

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