Kenya Shippers Say South Sudan Trade Increases Border Congestion

Kenya and Uganda’s government must upgrade infrastructure at the town Malaba on their mutual border to cater for increased traffic from South Sudan, the Kenya Shippers Council said.

South Sudanese trade via Kenya’s port of Mombasa surged 87 percent last year to 417,033 metric tons, Kenya Ports Authority statistics show. South Sudan increasingly favors using Malaba to transit the goods because of insecurity and damaged roads at Lokichogio on its border with Kenya, Humphrey Kisembe, an economist at the council, said in an interview today in Mombasa.

“The road to the border is still narrow making it difficult for trucks to maneuver,” Kisembe said. “The joint Kenya Revenue Authority and Uganda Revenue Authority verification staff operating on the Ugandan side are working in a dusty and unfriendly makeshift tent that cannot accommodate computers, resulting into duplication of work.”

Africa could double intra-regional trade by improving transport infrastructure and easing non-tariff barriers including customs procedures, according to the World Bank. Trade within the continent accounts for 12 percent of the total, compared with 35 percent in Latin America, almost 50 percent in Asia and about 70 percent in Europe, according to the Washington-based lender.

Mombasa, East Africa’s biggest port, handled 5.59 million tons of cargo in 2011, compared with 5.38 million tons a year earlier, according to the ports authority.

South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in July 2011.

To contact the reporter on this story: Githua Kihara in Mombasa via Nairobi at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net.

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