Northern Corridor Member States, in their pursuit of facilitating trade and transport to make the Northern Corridor a smart Corridor, had instructed the Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Coordination Authority (NCTTCA) Read Moreto design and implement a project aimed at establishing Roadside Stations (RSSs) along the Northern Corridor to curb the scourge of loss of lives and cargo (and diversion of goods), enhance road safety and health.
In this regard, a study has been undertaken with the objective of identifying and appraising interventions that will facilitate investment in the construction of RSSs as a way of supporting cost effective, reliable and safe conveyance of freight and people in East Africa and beyond. Recommendations of the study are now ready for implementation.
The criteria used for the selection of the location of Roadside Stations are;
- Traffic Volume
- Average driving speeds over sections of the Corridor
- Location aspects including proximity to key junctions on the corridor and the network
- Economic activities of the communities
- Availability of the workforce
- Distance between on RSS to another not to exceed 100 kilometres the RSSs
- Development projects underway/planned
- Accessibility and availability of land
- Environmental impact
- Proximity to border crossing, weighbridges and police control points
- Willingness of host community to participate in the project
- Availability of the finances
According to the Study, from the 67 Road Side Stations selected as priority in six (06) Member States out of 141 identified, more than 40 of them are up for grabs. They have a good Internal Rate of Return and can be executed by Private Sector or through Public Private Partnership (PPP) framework.
Why RoadSide Stations along the Northern Corridor?
The Northern Corridor forms the backbone of transport system which links signatory Member States of Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda to the Port of Mombasa. It is the most important trade route among the five key corridors designated by the EAC as critical to its development agenda.
It is a fact that the corridor has high traffic especially heavy commercial and long distance passenger vehicles moving goods and people across the region. The corridor over the years has had the highest cases of road accidents, most of which can be attributed to the heavy trucks and buses. Safety on this corridor has been a concern for many stakeholders. Long distance drivers face many challenges: long working hours which leads to fatigue, loss of concentration and poor health all of which are major contributors to accidents. Additionally, the corridor lacks the requisite facilities to ensure that long distance drivers safely take resting breaks.
The RSS program comes to enhance road safety and health along the Northern Corridor using RSS as a launch pad. Other benefits include socio-economic development and income generation for surrounding communities.
Facilities that attract investment in Roadside Stations
The main functions of the RSS will include providing secure parking yards for transit vehicles as well as rest facilities, restaurants, information centres and outlets for amenities needed by truck crews, long distance passengers and local communities.
Kenya has already gone ahead and started to set up a framework for investment in RSS. Indeed a Task Force established by the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure proposes that the Government should embark on the marketing and developing of two (02) pilot RSS namely; Sultan Hamud and Salgaa which will act as models for the roll out of the program on the entire corridor network.
As an illustration, according to the study, for the two (02) Pilot Large RSS selected in Kenya; Sultan Hamud and Salgaa, have a high private financial potential. This means that the RSS is totally feasible from a financial perspective and Public Private Partnership (PPP) considerations: globally financially feasible and bankable, and therefore could be of interest to private investors.
Sultan Hamud RSS
Sultan Hamud is being proposed to be developed as a large RSS. The Task Force through the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Settlement has identified land in Sultan Hamud that belongs to Kenya High Ways Authority (KeNHA). The piece of land is currently used to store construction material and equipment which will soon be removed. Kenya High Ways Authority (KeNHA) has expressed willingness to lease out the land to National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), for the construction of RSS.
The land is within town and 200 meters from the highway which guarantees ease of access to water and power. There is also a sub district hospital near the site where Wellness centre functions could be provided.
Salgaa is being proposed to be developed also as a Large RSS. The land is still in the process of identification. Discussions are under way with Nakuru County Government to donate some of the land set aside for the construction of the RSS.
The RSS study came up with Financial and economic viability indicators for all RSS sites along the Corridor. These Indicators were meant to guide decisions on attracting private sector interest and as a basis to show the future economic potential and incentives for investors.
For implementation, it is recommended that:
- The Government acquire land at the identified sites to facilitate the Prospective Developers.
- To facilitate further detailed financial evaluation of the RSS and due diligence for the concessioning and development of the sites.
Salgaa and Sultan Hamud RSS are to be developed as pilot Road Side Stations. Since land is readily available in Sultan Hamud, this RSS will be presented as a model for investment opportunity during the investor’s conference to be held on 28th April 2015, at KICC, Nairobi.
Sultan Hamud is strategically located for truck and long distance buses stop, hence an ideal resting place for most truck drivers on transit from and to Mombasa Port. Sultan Hamud RSS will have sufficient parking spaces for trucks and buses as the land identified is large enough to accommodate a large RSS Design. The Sultan Hamud RSS will have emergency response and wellness facilities to cater for the long distance drivers and effectively respond to accidents.
Regulatory and Legal Framework for RSS
The RSS will be supported by appropriate legislation as well as health and safety interventions. As proposed by NTSA, the RSSs will be operated through a concession.
The Government of Kenya, through the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure, has authorized NTSA as the Concessioning Authority, to facilitate the establishment of the Road Side Stations, their operation and maintenance through a concession on Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis for a concession period of 20 years. In simple terms, Land and RSS Sites will be provided by the Government to avoid speculation.
The Financing model should also include the formation of an Institution to manage the revenues generated by the RSS.
With the aim of facilitating and providing timely and accurate information on concession and land matters, the Government will set up a Steering Committee as one-stop centre, which will be constituted as follows;
- Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure
- Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban development
- Public Private Partnership (PPP) Unit
- Kenya High Ways Authority (KeNHA)
- National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), and
- Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Coordination Authority (NCTTCA)
Similar structure will be adopted in other Northern Corridor Member States.