DAR ES SALAAM, July 15 (Xinhua) -- The East African business watchdog called for deliberate actions to bring down the cost of transport and logistics to ensure exports compete at domestic and international levels.
In a statement issued late Thursday, the East African Business Council (EABC) said EAC transport costs are estimated at 1.8 U.S. dollars per kilometer per container, against international best practices of 1 U.S. dollar per kilometer per container.
The statement said the appeal was made during the EABC-TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) Webinar on Corridor Performance and Impact on EAC Business Competitiveness that brought together transporters, importers, exporters, freight forwarders, shippers, trade facilitation agencies, the public sector and the EAC secretariat to chart out strategies to enhance performance.
Merian Sebunya, chairperson of the National Logistics Platform from Uganda, said transport and logistics costs compose 35 percent to 42 percent of production in the EAC region which is high compared to 8 percent in Asian countries.
"We need to improve the export competitiveness and production capacities of the EAC bloc to ensure imported containers return back full with EAC exports," she said.
Emmanuel Imaniranzi from Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Agreement (NCTTA) said improvement of infrastructure, automation and interconnectivity is set to reduce transport costs. Nearly 66 percent of East African cargo uses the Northern Corridor.
The EAC member states are Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Uganda. ■