The recent reports that it is more expensive to transport goods within East African region than anywhere else in the world, dishearten.
It could be the reason why goods in region including Kenya are expensive. High transport costs usually feature on the overall costs of goods and services in the economies, which drives prices up.
High inflation could also be linked to high transport costs.
The 2011 Logistics Performance Index for East Africa that captures time spent clearing goods at ports, inland transport and cross-border clearance indicates that it takes 28 days to move a 40-ft container from the port of Shanghai, China, to Mombasa at a cost of Sh50,520.
It takes 40 days for the same container to reach Bujumbura from Mombasa at a cost of Sh673,600.
That is 13 times the cost.
The report shows movement of cargo from ports of entry constitutes the largest per cent of delays in trade logistics in East Africa.
This calls on regional States and Governments to expedite construction of rail system to ease transit of goods in the region. Expansion and modernisation of ports, railways, road, waterways and pipeline have also lagged behind.
Regional States should build more railways to cut on the use of roads, which are prone, accidents, and other damages costing the five economies dearly. Also, bureaucracies around the ports and borders should be done away with so as to promote efficient flow of trade.
Clearing of goods and toll charges that impede smooth flow of transport ought to be done away with so that more investors can come and invest with confidence of good returns to their investments.
This will also make the region more attractive to both local and foreign investors, and competitive in terms of trading with other States on the continent.