HELD IN JOHANNESBURG ON 15TH-16TH APRIL, 2013
29th April 2013.
The REC-TCC was a sub-committee of SSATP and addressed primarily regional integration.
This was the first of the two REC-TCC meetings planned for 2013.
It was the first time that a REC-TCC meeting had been held in South Africa.
The meeting was funded by the World Bank, through the SSATP.
Around 30 delegates attended and it was unfortunate that there were very few South African delegates.
The meeting was chaired by Jean-Paul Libebele, representing the REC ECCAS.
In the current 2nd Development Plan, REC-TCC was concentrating on corridor monitoring and transport observatories.
The first of the two days was used for corridor monitoring, with the second day being used for the preparations for the SSATP 3rd Development Plan and one-stop border posts.
CORRIDOR MONITORING AND TRANSPORT OBSERVATORIES
Only a few pilot observatories were in place in West, East and Southern Africa, and they were funded by World Bank (Dar es Salaam), SSATP (West Africa), TMSA (North-South) and TMEA (Northern and Central).
There were several challenges with the proposed observatories. The most significant was sourcing accurate data.
The perception of what was possible, was very different to what was actually experienced.
Some data was only captured manually by authorities and so was not suitable for the observatories. Furthermore, data was not always captured accurately and efficiently. The data sourced from interviews, was not always the same as that logged by the authorities.
Dwell time for ships at anchorage, was sourced, though it was not significant for container ships.
With so many entries being captured, it was essential, that in future, there would be no need to manually check data. It would have to be automatically verified.
The stripping of containers was a problem particular to West Africa, since customs did not mind this, and transporters were able to overload their trucks.
The result of the above problems, was that the SSATP observatories were still in the process of being set up.
For the Northern Corridor, 100 GPS units were distributed to transporters, but data was only being received from 29 of them. Transporters were not keen to accept and manage these units.
The Trans-Cunene corridor volumes had been dropping, due to the increasing efficiency of the Angolan ports. The Trans-Caprivi and Trans-Kalahari volumes had doubled in the past three years.
For the WBCG corridors, base data was collected from the port and Namibian customs. However there was difficulty getting data from customs. This was checked against data from weighbridges and borders.
The capacity of the port was being challenged.
TMSA detailed what it was doing on the North-South Corridor, using the vehicle tracking systems.
This was clearly the most efficient and sustainable method of sourcing reliable data, though it was currently restricted to transit times.
As soon as data such as goods type, volumes, etc were required, the task became much more difficult.
TMSA was working on methods and partnerships to achieve the objectives.
Some agreed outcomes:
- 80% of trucks in Kenya used GPS tracking. The figure was less in Tanzania. Very few West African trucks used GPS. Some transporters only did one international trip per year. The meeting agreed that, even though West Africa only had a small number of GPS trucks, nevertheless, they should be monitored through GPS. In this way, the results could be compared with those from East and Southern Africa.
- There was need for a glossary of terms for corridor monitoring.
- SSATP used the standard of the price paid by the shipper for transport. The price for return legs varied from 25% of the inward leg, upwards.
- Quotations would be obtained from clearing and forwarding agents, for a 12-metre container, for both inward and return legs.
- Intraregional trucking surveys would be continued with the National Road Transport Associations (NRTAs).
- Maritime trade volumes would be obtained from the Ports.
- Intraregional trade volumes from Customs.
- Traffic count surveys would be continued.
- This would include port dwell, total delivery, road transport and border crossings (including queues).
- The REC-TCC would be the forum to keep the corridor monitoring guidelines, including core indicators, updated. These guidelines would be housed at the SSATP.
- The transport observatory documents (for completed corridor monitoring projects) should be housed in the corridor management institutions, though only a few corridors had CMIs. Where there was no CMI, the host would be the relevant REC.
It was noted that there was an Africa Corridor Alliance, where corridor management institutions could network and share best practices. It was being housed in the Africa Trade Policy centre.
FESARTA did not agree that there should be an institution, but rather have an extra day added to the REC-TCC meeting, during which the CMIs and regional associations could do the networking. All the CMIs were represented at the REC-TCC meetings.
ONE-STOP/JOINT BORDER POSTS
In West Africa, the “joint border posts” terminology was used, as different to “one-stop”.
Three such border posts were being developed at Nigeria/Benin, Ghana/Togo, Niger/Benin, with funding from EU. Others on the Abidjan-Lagos corridor were being planned.
There was to be a supplementary regional act, to facilitate the setting up of the joint border posts.
Manuals were being drafted and elaborate sensitization programmes were being drawn up, to facilitate the transit of the borders to one-stop/joint.
The Borderless Alliance, a private sector organization in West Africa, had made considerable progress in solving problems along the corridors.
It had set up Border Information Centres at six borders.