Transport sector records growth after travel restrictions are eased

An overloaded tuk tuk captured in Kakamega in March 9, 2022. [Benjamin Sakwa, Standard]

In 2022, the transport sector experienced a significant 24.5 per cent increase in output, making it one of the primary drivers of growth for the year.

Output value rose from Sh2.3 trillion in 2021 to Sh2.9 trillion, and this figure could continue to rise in 2023. Expenditure on roads is expected to increase from Sh177.1 billion in the 2021-22 fiscal year to Sh191.4 billion in 2022-23.

According to the Economic Survey 2023, transport, travel, and telecommunications were among the services that experienced increased inflows in 2022, leading to a surplus of Sh136.4 billion.

The easing of restrictions on personal movement, which had been implemented to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, played a significant role in the resurgence of the transport and storage sector.

With international borders reopening and passengers travelling freely, the total number of passengers at Kenya’s airports rose from 6.7 million in 2021 to 10.2 million in 2022.

The number of international passengers increased by an impressive 80.4 per cent.

However, not all aspects of the transport sector saw growth. The volume of white petroleum products transported via pipeline decreased from 7.6 million cubic meters in 2021 to 7.5 million cubic meters in 2022.

“White petroleum products transported for domestic consumption increased by 0.8 per cent to 4.7 million cubic metres in 2022,” according to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

In 2022, the Port of Mombasa saw a 4.5 per cent decrease in the number of docked ships, totaling 1,561. Import cargo traffic also experienced a decline of 2.3 per cent, amounting to 26.7 million metric tonnes.

However, export cargo traffic witnessed growth, increasing by 3.4 per cent to reach 4.8 million tonnes.

Additionally, the number of newly registered motor vehicles decreased by 7.6 per cent, totaling 99,365.

Despite this overall decline, there was a substantial increase in the registration of panel vans and pick-ups, which rose from 5,986 units in 2021 to 10,901 units in 2022.

“The number of lorries or trucks, minibuses or matatus and trailers rose by 42.5, 10.3 and 8.5 per cent, respectively, over the review period,” KNBS indicated.

The number of reported road accidents saw a slight decrease, dropping from 10,210 in 2021 to 9,976 in 2022. However, the number of road accident casualties increased by 5.5 per cent, reaching 21,757.

In the railway sub-sector, the Metre Gauge Railway (MGR) experienced a 22.2 per cent increase in the volume of cargo transported, totaling 787,000 tonnes.

As a result, the KNBS reported an eight per cent rise in freight revenue, amounting to Sh1.2 billion.

Conversely, the number of passengers transported via MGR decreased by 23.7 per cent to 3.4 million.

Meanwhile, the volume of freight transported by the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) grew by 12.6 per cent, reaching 6.1 million tonnes. The number of passengers transported via SGR also increased, rising by 20 per cent to 2.4 million.

Development expenditure on roads is projected to increase by 1.7 per cent to Sh124.2 billion in the 2022-23 financial year.

The projected amount to be collected under the Road Maintenance Levy Fund, which serves as the primary source of funding for the annual road maintenance programmes, is Sh67.2 billion, representing an increase of 22.1 per cent compared to 2021/22 where Sh55 billion was collected.

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