THE East African Business Council (EABC) has called for the formulation of EAC transport and logistics framework to boost the competitiveness of the region.
The Chairperson, National Logistics Platform in Uganda Merian Sebunya observed here recently that transport and logistics costs composed of between 35 and 42 per cent of production, which is compared to eight per cent in Asian countries.
Such a trend negatively impacted the competitiveness of the EAC bloc and trade balance, according to Dr Sebunya.
Dr Sebunya appealed to Governments of the EAC Partner States to take deliberate actions to bring down the cost of transport and logistics in the EAC region to ensure EAC exports can compete at AfCFTA and international level.
“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.
The EAC Trade and Investment Report (2020) shows EAC exports globally stood at $ 6.2 billion in 2020 while imports at $35.6 billion registering a negative balance of trade of $19.4 billion.
On his part, Agayo Ogambi from Shippers Council of Eastern Africa said Mombasa port throughput declined by 0.9 per cent in 2020, with a total of 34.13 million tons of cargo handled in 2020, which is 1.8 million tons shy of the target of 35.90 million tons in 2019.
“Government agencies to render services that are commensurate to the fees charged, as outlined in Article 6 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement,” he appealed.
The EABC-TMEA Webinar on Corridor Performance and Impact on EAC Business Competitiveness convened transporters, importers, exporters, freight forwarders, shippers, trade facilitation agencies, the public sector, EAC Secretariat to chart out strategies to enhance the performance.