A joint real-time transit cargo monitoring scheme by Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda will kick off by June to help curb dumping and theft of goods.
“By June 2016, goods moving along the northern corridor (Mombasa-Kigali) will be monitored in real time, curbing dumping, theft and other vices,” Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) said in an update.
According to Business Daily, the Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS) comprises satellites, a monitoring centre and special electronic seals fitted on cargo containers and trucks, which give the precise location of goods in real time.
The system triggers an alarm whenever there is diversion from the designated route, an unusually long stopover or when someone attempts to open a container.
“On implementation, Kenya and Uganda will jointly attach electronic seals onto cargo at Mombasa. The implication is that goods cannot disappear in anyone’s territory. We will have rapid response teams to intervene swiftly,” URA Customs Commissioner, Dicksons Kateshumbwa said.
Besides curbing theft of cargo, the system also helps to seal loopholes that cause the states losses in revenue through suspected under-declaration of the value of exports.
“The new system’s key strength is that unlike presently, the three northern corridor countries, shall use one system and one platform, with seamless visibility from Mombasa to Kigali and eventually Juba,” Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) commissioner-general John Njiraini said in January.
Kenya and Uganda have successfully piloted the ECTS while Rwanda has commenced trials and targets to fully adopt the system by mid this year. South Sudan is also expected to come on board soon following in the wake of its recent admission as the sixth member of the East African Community (EAC).
“The southern corridor (Dar-es-Salaam-Bujumbura) is expected to be monitored by a similar system,” said Mr Kateshumbwa.
Kenya introduced ECTS in July 2009 as it intensified its purge against dumping of transit goods in the local market.
The country is a key gateway to the region in that the Mombasa port handles imports such as fuel and consumer goods for Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia and exports of tea and coffee from the region.
The system was particularly set to monitor movement of goods between Mombasa port and Busia and Malaba border points through which goods enter the landlocked Great Lakes Region.