Plans for truck decongestion at Uganda-Kenya border gear up

Works and transport officials from Uganda and Kenya jointly inspect the Kenya Railways In-land Container Terminal at the Malaba border after holding an intergovernmental meeting over traffic congestion at the border on May 27, 2023. PHOTO/JOSEPH OMOLLO

The Kenyan government has announced plans to decongest trucks at its Malaba border with Uganda within three weeks.

The development was announced by the Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Francis Kipchumba Morukomen, during an intergovernmental meeting at the newly constructed Kenya Railways In-land Container Terminal in Malaba.

While addressing the press on Saturday, Kipchumba noted that “congestion of trucks at the Malaba one stop border point interrupts business along the great North Corridor.”

To avoid that, the Kenyan government is now considering establishment of a border committee that will be responsible for quick response to future bottlenecks and addressing non-tariff barriers to reduce on the cost of business.

Kenya will also increase on the number of scanners, storage facilities as well as widen the trailer parking yard to accommodate the increasing volumes of trucks on transit through the Malaba border in a bid to overcome several challenges.

"We hope the measures will address the bottlenecks. Some measures will include expediting completion of roads currently causing the delay in scanning of goods," Kipchumba said.

Kipchumba’s remarks come at a time when the Ugandan government has recorded an increase in empty trucks that build a stretch of over 15 kilometers, pending clearance at the Malaba border Point along the Malaba-Jinja Highway.

Meanwhile, Uganda’s state minister of works Musa Ecweru assured the gathering that government is determined to partner with the East African Community to ensure smooth running of business across the region.

According to him, Uganda has renewed commitments that include construction of the Standard Gauge Railway and rehabilitation of Tororo-Gulu-Pakwach Meter gauge railway.

"In doing these developments, we are trying to see how to make the cost of business more efficient and effective. Therefore, government will subsequently create economic activities for every community," he remarked in response to claims by some of the leaders at the border that creation of more routes is an intention by government to suffocate business at the Malaba border.

He also disclosed that Kenya and Uganda are going to improve infrastructure at Lwakhakha border because in the initial designs, the two governments didn't install necessary equipment for cargo clearing.