Traders Still Prefer Mombasa


EAST AFRICAN BUSINESS WEEK

05. August 2013

by Dias NYESIGA

Mombasa Port. Photo: Rwanda Eye

Kigali — Rwandan business people are hesitant to fully shift to the Central Corridor through Tanzania, despite the recent improvement at Dar es Salaam port.

“The Northern Corridor becomes advantageous to transporters because of its convenience mainly in accessing vehicle servicing, food and accommodation to Uganda and Kenya,” Theodore Murenzi, the Executive Secretary of Rwanda Truckers Association East African Business Week.

” You see there are services we get along the Mombasa route that we cannot get on the Dar Es Salaam route,” Emmanuel Ndikubwabo, a regular trader on the Northern Corridor said.

According to a recent survey by Shippers Council of East Africa (SCEA) Tanzania stepped up efforts to improve service delivery at Dar es Salaam port and plans are underway to build a new complex at Bagomoyo port.This according to experts is seen as a move that is likely to snatch business from the Northern Corridor and specifically Mombasa port.

For long interludes, Mombasa has been beset by congestion which has frequently caused widespread frustration for clients. Mombasa port is also currently being streamlined in major works programme supported by the British government through the Department of International Development.

Rwandan traders say the advantage with Mombasa is the availability of cost effective logistical services.

In spite of an almost one hour difference, Rwandan traders say that the Mombasa port route appears shorter than Dar es Salaam.

It takes 18 hours 39 minutes on average via the Dar Es Salaam-Kigali route compared to 19 hours 3 min for Mombasa-Kigali alternative.

However Rwanda traders do complain about corruption, weigh bridges, road blocks and other non-tariff barriers (NTBs).

“I think most traders shifted to Tanzania route just because of those road blocks and weighbridges which were characterized by delays and hidden costs,” Faruok Mohamed, an importer of garments said in Kigali.

“We have seen some improvements, but a lot has to be done to help us do our business easily. I think Kenya has to work on the expansion of the port which is a challenge currently,” Murenzi said.

The announcement of a Single Customs Territory may also work in Mombasa’s favour.

“We welcome this initiative for integration and I believe this is another big advantage for Mombasa port to keep its business with Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda,” Fausitn Ndizeye, a Kigali- based trader said.

According to the arrangement under this single territory, Rwandan traders will be able to clear taxes at Mombasa as opposed to current arrangement where they have to clear the documentation at every customs point.

 

Related articles:

Rwanda Traders Snub Tax Machines ( EA Business Week 05. August 2013)

The electronic billing machines that Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) recently introduced to improve and streamline collection of Value Added Tax (VAT) are being snubbed by many traders.

Many complain that the machines, which were intended to curb tax evasion, are not user-friendly. Others tactfully ignore to use them so as they continue evading tax.

“It’s common knowledge that billing machines are not a welcome feature in the business community, most people are not using them,” The Commissioner General, Ben Kagarama, told a news conference in Kigali last week.[read all…]

Rwandan traders welcome Uhuru’s directive on Mombasa Port (Rwanda Eye)

The directive by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to Mombasa port authorities to improve operations at the port will stimulate trade and cut on transport costs, importers say.

Last week, President Uhuru ordered Mombasa port authorities to ensure that they reduce delay time at the port, saying the current situation where containers take 18 days to reach Kampala from Mombasa was untenable. He directed the port authorities to ensure this is reduced to five days at most within three weeks. [read all…]

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