East African countries have launched a 4.4 million dollar Electronic Cargo Tracking System which has been tipped to change the dynamics of cross-border trade and take it to a whole new level. The East Africa Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System was unveiled by Revenue authorities in Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda.
The Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System, a combined effort of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda is set to improve East African Trade and the project has received backing from the United Kingdom Department of International Development (DFID) with a 4.4 million dollar grant which is going to go towards implementation of the project.
The cargo tracking system comprises of satellites, central command centres, smart gates and rapid response units set up in Nairobi, Kampala, and Kigali. It will be used to monitor, in real-time cargo being transported along the Northern Corridor which is the main trade route linking the landlocked countries of Uganda and Rwanda with Kenya’s maritime port of Mombasa.
The Electronic tracking system is set to improve trade by reducing transit time and cutting down transportation costs for importers and exporters in the East African region. Delays were and are responsible for the increase in transit time for cargo which also increases transport costs.
Physical escorts, police roadblocks, customs authorities and border clearance increased the transit time of cargo and with each delay, the cost of transport would also increase for importers and exporters. The Electronic Cargo Tracking System is to replace the old systems of cargo tracking and is a welcome initiative as it is going to expedite the movement of cargo on transit routes.
The system will also increase cargo safety by reducing cargo theft and the diverting of goods in transit. Millions in dollarized value of cargo are lost to theft and unaccountability along trade routes annually. The Electronic Cargo Tracking System will enable Authorities in Kenya, Uganda, and Rwanda to monitor and keep track of cargo in transit, in real time. Any attempt to steal, divert or temper with the goods being transported will send alerts to central command centres and rapid response units would be deployed check on the cargo.
The Initiative is also going to help Revenue authorities in Nairobi, Kampala, and Kigali to curb corruption at border posts and to ensure tax compliance. The system will allow the authorities to identify and deal with loopholes that cause loss of revenue due to under-declaration of the value and amount of exports practiced by some exporters and importers at border posts.