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 East African Community 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.
A Multidisciplinary Stakeholders Team inspecting Shell and Premium Energy Bonje in Mombasa.
In this period of Covid-19 pandemic, it came out clear that the Northern Corridor region lacks adequate facilities along the main sections of the road network for rest and recovery, maintenance, parking and wellness centres equipped with adequate health services. Roadside Stations and wellness centres are more needed than ever before not only for rest stops but also to decongest the border control points thus ensuring seamless movements of goods and persons.
According to the findings of the inspection of private facilities similar to the Roadside Stations (RSS) designs by a multiagency team involving Public and Private sector Stakeholders in Kenya, most existing and ongoing projects for parking facilities along the Northern Corridor are either under private sector initiatives or County Governments.
The exercise carried out between 22nd and 29th September 2020 started from Mombasa, all the way to the borders in Busia and Malaba and coming back to Mombasa.
The Parking facilities which were found to have enough amenities that can be upgraded into RSS facilities include: Shell and Premium Energy Bonje located near the port of Mombasa; Maungu Park owned by Taita Taveta County Government; Sparkle Centre located in Mtito Andei, mostly done for buses; Darusalam Hotel and parking facility located in Mtito Andei as well; Delamere Holding Shop Point located out of Naivasha on the way to Gilgil mostly made as a stopover for small cars and buses; Shell Salgaa located along the Northern Corridor highway in Salgaa; Uasin Gishu Lorry Park located in Jua Kali and owned by the county Government of Uasin Gishu as well as the Parking Facilities at Malaba Uganda with additional private parking yards within a distance of 0.5km from the Malaba OSBP.
One of the busiest Roadside Stops at Burnt Forest developed for trucks by KeNHA
To ease the pressure of trucks parking on rad shoulders, Kenya National Highways Authority developed Roadside Stops mainly at Manyatta, Kiboko, Mlolongo Jua Kali and Burnt Forest. However, the KeNHA developed Roadside Stops lack sanitary facilities, accommodation and eateries for truckers.
The Multiagency Stakeholders team also found that there are other RSS projects at thinking stage and others under early different implementation stages including the KeNHA land in Sultan Hamud which will depend on the RSS national regulations to be developed; Shell and Premium Energy in Maai Maihiu 17 acres land near the Naivasha ICD; Mundika Trailer Pak which is a Busia County Gorvenment Project; Malaba Park also a Busia County Government Project and Kikopey private land at Kikopey between Nakuru and Gilgil whose owner was much interested to develop an RSS and open to partnership to assist him implement his project. The Kikopey RSS would carter for Nakuru and Gilgil in a strong need of Parking yards.
The Multiagency Stakeholders Team with Busia County Engineers after discussing and amending a Roadside Station Project plan dubbed Mundika Trailer Pak
With the firm willingness to invest in RSS, Private Sector players and County Governments have to be accompanied and assisted in the implementation of their projects. In the short term and medium term, the Northern Corridor Secretariat must make an immediate follow up with potential investors towards the development and upgrading to RSS level the existing and ongoing parking facilities. Furthermore, the Secretariat should continue engagement with KeNHA and County Governments towards the implementation of RSS programme in Kenya.
And where possible, the road authorities in Member States should provide for roadside stops with sanitary facilities truckers and other road users.
With the aim of facilitating and providing timely and accurate information on concession and land matters, the Government of the Republic of Kenya set up a Steering Committee as one-stop centre composed of members from the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban development, Ministry of Land, Public Private Partnership (PPP) Unit, Kenya High Ways Authority (KeNHA) and National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA).