The East Africa Business Council have urged Tanzania and Burundi to join Rwanda, Uganda, and Kenya to integrate the regional electronic cargo tracking system (RECTS) project, which is a harmonized electronic cargo tracking system, and also emphasized that the system reduces the cost of doing business. The EABC Executive Director Lilian Awinja has reiterated that RECTS is, among others, “a very good idea that is reducing diversion and theft of transit cargo.”
Rwanda launched the e-Cargo tracking system which is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) through Trademark East Africa (TMEA) at a cost of $4.5 million (nearly Rwf3.7 billion). Launched seven months ago, it lessens transit time, enhances cargo safety and helps traders better predict the arrival of goods. It enables transporters and revenue authorities in Rwanda, Kenya, and Uganda to jointly track transit cargo from port to destination on a 24-hour basis. Issa Mugarura, vice-president of Rwanda Truck Drivers Association (ACPLRWA), said he is happy because cases and avenues of cargo theft are no more.
In Rwanda, there is no charge for an e-seal. Patience Mutesi, TMEA country director, explained that this is because it is funded by a development organisation through the Government. In the three countries, the e-seal is distributed generously, or at very little cost, to companies. “The cost to the private sector players is lower than it is when funded as a profitable venture because, to the Government, it is a trade facilitation tool and not one meant to make money,” Mutesi said.
When the system was launched in March, TMEA officials said that in the past, transporters lost $200-$250 each day a truck spent in transit while the cost of transport tended to increase for cargo destined further inland, such as to Rwanda.