The Northern Corridor Secretariat and Stakeholders are in constant discussions and information exchange intended to revive the implementation of the Roadside Stations (RSS) programme as one of crucial pillars in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in trading centres and some border points.
The Roadside Stations programme presents an opportunity for investment in Trade and Transport Logistics aimed at improving Road safety as well as supporting cost effectiveness and reliability in the conveyance of freight and people along the Northern Corridor. The initiative had attracted the attention of both policy makers and private sector players.
The Northern Corridor Member States are committed to develop Roadside Stations as an integral part of transport infrastructure services along the corridor and to develop and adopt policies and regulatory frameworks for promoting Roadside Stations in partnership with the private sector.
From 141 Roadside Stations sites that were identified in the Northern Corridor Member States, 67 were selected as priority to be established.
Since the launch of the RSS Programme along in 2015 and the subsequent activities carried out by the Northern Corridor Secretariat aimed at providing Member States with institutional frameworks, including the formation of RSS Tasks Forces in Member States, some private sector initiatives similar to the RSS have emerged along the Corridor.
With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been noted that having functional RSS and Wellness centres to help in the fight against communicable diseases such as corona virus, Ebola, HIV/Aids is highly dispensable and urgent. The pandemic revealed the need to revive the implementation of the establishment of the Roadside Stations by identifying and surveying private sector initiatives similar to RSS along the Corridor with a view of granting the RSS status
to those which comply with the RSS facility requirements.
Shell Bonje, Mombasa, needs to be geo-fenced as part of the Northern Corridor Trade and Transport Logistics facilities
During some of the online meetings on trade facilitation along the corridor in the wake of Covid-19, organized by the Northern Corridor Secretariat every Tuesday, stakeholders always emphasizes the issue of parking yards at the border on both sides of Uganda and Kenya. In Uganda, parking owners (private sector) have been complaining about officials’ redundant requests of closing those parking and asking truck drivers not to park there.
In response to the complaints, officials often defended themselves by raising safety concerns and security measures related to COVID-19 with regards to those private parking. On the Kenya side, it was noted that there are no parking yards to ease congestion at the border and instead trucks park along the road at both Malaba and Busia borders.
Similarly, it was reported that truckers are penalized by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) when they park at Shell Bonje, Mombasa, while awaiting entry into Mombasa Port to deliver exports or for overnight parking before commencing their transit journey after picking cargo from the Port. Shell and Premium Energy Bonje which can provide safe and secure parking for over 300 trucks, their construction envisioned the model for Roadside Stations as approved for implementation by the Northern Corridor Council of Ministers.
Shell and Premium Energy Bonje can provide safe and secure parking for over 300 trucks
By the end of September 2020, the Northern Corridor Secretariat in collaboration with KRA will undertake a Stakeholder’s inspection Parking Yards along the Corridor Starting with Shell and Premium Bonje facilities in Mombasa, Kenya, to assess their adequacy to serve as Roadside Stations with a view of geo-fencing the two facilities by KRA for use by trucks loaded with cargo subjected to customs control.
The expected outcome of this exercise is to make recommendations to the relevant authorities (Ministry of Transport, Ministry of EAC and Regional development) to grant the RSS status to the parking yards that meet the RSS requirements. The Revenue Authorities will also be involved in this process so that the upgraded parking yards can be geo-fenced and gazetted.