Local importers are still grappling with high costs and longer time for clearance of goods at Mombasa and Dar es Salaam ports.
Competition between Kenya and Tanzanian port was expected to improve efficiencies at ports and lower costs, but importers say nothing significant has changed
Importers told Rwanda Today the logistical challenges created by the covid-19 pandemic had seen each side embark on aggressive marketing of their facilities and services hoping to retain or attract more local business community to use their respective corridors.
However, apart from cases of individual ports enticing importers to go for a tour and promises for waivers on charges and penalties accrued as a result of the pandemic, there were no offers made yet on either side, according to local importers.
“We are not seeing any additional offers different from what we have been receiving. If the offers are coming and they are favouring us, we shall use the Corridor that is cost effective,” said Stephen Ruzibiza, Rwanda Private Sector Federation (PSF) chief Executive.
“These are corridors we use anyway and we use them because of advantages they provide. The less trade barriers one receives on the corridor the easier it becomes to use that corridor.”
Rwanda has maintained both the Central and the Norther corridors although the former remains a competitive route for cross border trade, accounting for over 70 per cent of imports into the country, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry statistics.
However, importers indicate that the Coronavirus pandemic induced border protocols, which significantly increased import costs and turnaround time on both corridors, especially the Port of Dar es Salaam which had attracted majority of Rwandan importers since the post 2007 Kenya election crisis that affected users of the Northern Corridor.