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Northern Corridor Countries Seek Tanzania’s Cooperation to Boost Mombasa Port’s Attractiveness

NAIROBI – Countries supporting the Northern Corridor—a regional road connectivity project—are working to persuade Tanzania to permit cargo destined for Burundi, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to transit through its borders. This effort seeks to cut transit times and costs, thereby increasing the competitiveness of the Mombasa port.

The Northern Corridor, a network of interconnected highways spanning 1,700 kilometers, begins at the port of Mombasa and serves Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Eastern DRC.

At a recent meeting, ministers of transport from the six member countries of the Northern Corridor directed the Northern Corridor Transit and Coordination Authority (NCTTCA) secretariat to initiate discussions with Tanzania regarding the proposal.

If successful, trucks using the Northern Corridor, which have traditionally taken the longer route from Mombasa through Uganda to reach Rwanda, Burundi, and the DRC, will be able to take a shorter route through Tanzania. This change would reduce the travel distance by approximately 400 kilometers.

The council of ministers, chaired by Uganda’s Minister of Works and Transport, Katumba Wamala, emphasized that utilizing the route through Taveta into Holili in Tanzania will “not only reduce costs of transit transport but also increase Mombasa Port throughput.”

Currently, transporters are not using this route because Tanzania, which is also aiming to boost throughput at the Dar es Salaam port and along the Central Corridor, has not geofenced it, thereby preventing its use by cargo trucks destined for other countries.

Efforts to engage Tanzania are seen as a strategic move to enhance regional trade efficiency and bolster the competitiveness of the Mombasa port in the face of rising competition from other regional ports.

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