The Tanzanian government has tried to convince Ugandan businessmen to use the recently completed Central Corridor connecting Kampala to the port in Dar es Salaam via Mutukula (total distance is around 1800 KM) as an alternative route to the highly congested, though shorter, Northern Corridor which connects Kampala to the Kenyan port of Mombasa (around 1300 KM). The problem? Despite all the marketing efforts, very few people are using it.
Even with all those initiatives, there seems to be little activity along this route. Records from TPA [Tanzanian Port Authority] show that out of the 10.1 million tones cargo capacity Dar handles annually, less than 5 per cent of Uganda seaborne traffic is handled at the Dar es Salaam Port.
businessmen complain that the Dar-Kampala route has got over 15 weighbridges compared to Mombasa-Kampala’s 7 weighbridges and this has made it a barrier for easy and fast movement of goods.“Every stop-over means time is wasted and this means losing money. So how are we going to compete,” Mr Sekitto added.
But TPA argues that Tanzania is a very poor country where the issue of road protection cannot be over emphasized. It is for this reason that they say truck drivers have to oblige to the set axle load limits and any violation attracts severe penalties.
“The Tanzanian government put those weighbridges to protect the infrastructure because it has taken years and huge investments to put them up. This will reduce the cost of repairs and also they will last for some time,” Ms Francisca Muindi TPA’s Spokesperson said.