By Luke Anami
“It takes 28 days to move a 40ft container from the port of Shanghai, China to Mombasa at a cost of Sh50,520 ($600), while it takes 40 days for the same container to reach Bujumbura from Mombasa at a cost of Sh673,600 ($8,000),” Rosemary Mburu, consultant Institute of Trade Development, said.
“This represents double the time at 13 times the cost,” she said during the launch of 2011 Logistics Performance Index for East Africa.
The index captures time spent clearing goods at ports, inland transport and cross-border clearance.
Other indicators in the report include cost of freight across all modes of transport, terminal handling costs at ports of entry, the number of documents, agencies, signatures, physical and electronic inspections required per trade transaction.
The report shows movement of cargo from ports of entry constitutes the largest per cent of delays in trade logistics in East Africa.
Stakeholders are now calling on Government to expedite construction of rail system to ease transit of goods in the region.
“While customs reforms under the East African Community Customs Union and Common Market have improved logistics in the region, infrastructure (ports, railways, road, waterways and pipeline) have lagged behind,” Ms Mburu said.
The index will be used to identify key bottlenecks in the region and help frame the needs and priorities in the trade facilitation and logistics reform.