A recent 30 miles long jam on the Nairobi-Mombasa route that connect one of the busiest port in East Africa to a number of landlocked countries in the region including Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, has block the region’s transport corridor for more than 48 hours.
According to Reuters, more than 1,500 trucks, tracks and buses have been stuck on the road since Wednesday when rains destroyed a temporary road created to allows constructions on the highway some 50 kilometers or 30 miles from the port city of Mombasa.
Traffic jams are common on Kenyan roads as always get worse during the rainy season or maintenance periods when vehicles are diverted.
Willingtone Kiberenge, acting chief executive of the truck owners’ umbrella body, Kenya Transporters Association, told Reuters that the delays were piling on losses for trucking companies.
“We have more than 1,500 trucks stuck in the traffic since yesterday. Nothing much has changed and the problem is escalating. The Kenya Highways Authority must do something quickly because it is already a crisis,” Kiberenge said.
Most of the goods that enter East Africa through the Mombasa port are transported by road as the 100-year-old rail system is too slow and inefficient. A new standard gauge railway line commissioned by Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda is in its early staged of construction and will be ready from 2018.
Kenya and Tanzania are locked in a port construction competition as they aim to become the main transport hub for the region, connecting other landlocked countries in the region.
While Tanzania is constructing a new port in Bagamoyo, at an estimated cost of $11 billion, that will have the capacity to handle 20 million containers per year, compared with Dar es Salaam’s installed capacity of 500,000, Kenya is constructing a bigger port in Lamu under the $26 billion Lamu Port-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia (LAPSSET) transport corridor project.
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