Today’s trade environment is challenging and complex, and there is increasing need for enterprises to keep track of their goods on transit.
Maintaining the integrity of goods is a crucial aspect of logistics because these goods are hauled through different territories, across countries and between customs controlled areas, such as border towns, inland port terminals, storage warehouses and container freight stations.
Starting Wednesday 01 March 2017, the Kenya Revenue Authority will be tracking all trucks that traverse Kenya to cross the borders to our neighbours, Rwanda and Uganda.
The KRA this week commissioned the Regional Electronic Cargo Transit System (RECTS) program.
This is a highly sophisticated solution that has been implemented with a view of tracking the movements of containers and vehicles on transit.
It replaces the pre-existing Electronic Cargo Transit System (ECTS).
Under the previous system, cargo and freight carriers were required to part with KES 120,000 for installation of tracking devices on their truck engines as well a monthly fee payment of KES 10,000 for the same.
Transporters will now be relieved of this burden because the new electronic tag is free.
The first truck under the new RECTS was flagged off by the Chairman of the KRA board, Edward Sambili, on Wednesday.
The project was financed by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DfiD).
It solves systemic processes that the KRA states were “tedious and easy to manipulate” in the previous system.
RECTS is likely to facilitate trade along the Northern Corridor by lowering the cost and time of doing business for traders along this route.
The system is also expected to contain theft and diversion of goods originating from the Port of Mombasa and destined for markets across our East African borders.
More importantly, for KRA, the system will prevent tax evasion. The system was mooted during consultative meetings at the Heads of State Summit in Kigali back in 2014.
In a nutshell, the RECTS is a harmonized system that connects the customs departments in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.
It offers Central Monitoring Centres (CMCs) in these three neighbour countries that operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The long term plan is to encompass the entire East African Region.
Within the system, there are also a dozen (12) Rapid Response Units drawn from security agencies and customs officers in the region.
RECTS comprises smart gates and automatic number plate recognition at the points of entry and exit at country borders.
This does away with the need for manual recording of data as was the case before.
There is likely to be some significant time saving for transporters wishing to have their trucks cleared.
The introduction of the Regional Electronic Cargo Transit System is a welcome move.
It is likely to bring along better cross-border coordination and tracking of goods in transit, prevention of unwanted diversions and transparency to stakeholders.
There will also be more efficient compliance with the laws of transportation.
And most likely, the Kenya Revenue Authority will be bursting at its seams with increased revenue collection.