Shippers and Truckers will incur extra charges in importing or exporting goods to South Sudan after Juba directed the border authorities in Uganda to start implementing Electronic Cargo Traffic Note Certificates (ECTN) in all transit goods.
The new measure by South Sudan implies that all goods to this landlocked nation from either the port of Mombasa or Dar es Salaam through the border points of Kenya and Uganda will have to be issued with ECTN at a cost of up to $110 depending on the size of the cargo.
For instance, a truck carrying a 20- foot container will pay $80 while those transporting 40-foot will incur a cost of $110 to have the goods cross to or out of South Sudan. Vehicles will be levied between $75 and $100.
Drivers violating this directive will be fined between $10,000 and $500,000 depending on the nature of goods in transit, according to the South Sudan Ministry of Transport.
The purpose of ECTN is to prevent diversion of cargo and smuggling of goods on transit as it monitors how the consignment is moving from the port of entry to the final destination.
The move comes as a blow to truckers who are yet to recover from the losses occasioned by the suspension of operations to South Sudan two weeks ago due to cases of insecurity that saw a number of truck drivers killed by militia along the highway leading to Juba.
The operations have, however, resumed after the government of South Sudan assured Kenya and Uganda that it has deployed security along the troubled highway to offer protection to truckers.
The decision to introduce ECTN was reached in a circular issued by South Sudan’s Minister of Trade and Industry Kuol Athian Mawien on December 18, 220, but it’s now that the implementation is being effected.
“All transporters, companies, shippers and freight forwarders, road carriers, importers and shipping lines, airlines and other involved into the transport either for goods import/export or in transit from and to South Sudan will have to comply with all requirement of the trade facilitation system implemented by South Sudan,” reads the circular.
The East African Business Council chief executive John Bosco Kalisa said the ECTN was already being implemented in the region and that only South Sudan and the DR Congo were yet to implement it.
“We are planning to hold discussions with all the stakeholders including the revenue authorities and the freighters to educate the truck drivers on the need to implement it,” Mr Kalisa is quoted by the East African.
“So the truck drivers should continue with their work as we wait to meet all the partners involved in the matter,” added the official.