New levies on imports, exports slow down trade
CYNTHIA ILAKO/ The introduction of new duties and levies on imports and exports has slowed down containerised trade along the East Africa’s Northern corridor, a trade report by shipping giant Maersk Group states.
The report shows the northern corridor comprising Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and parts of Rwanda recorded a three per cent growth in exports, while imports rose two per cent year-on-year in September.
“Imports were stifled by introduction of new duties and levies on some of the import commodities such as used clothing, as well as new regulations on auto and paper imports into Kenya,” head of Safmarine East Africa Purity Karau said.
The drop in trade was propelled by a 13 per cent and 9 per cent decline in exports and imports respectively, along the Central Corridor (Tanzania, Burundi, Zambia, Malawi, DRC and parts of Rwanda). The sharp decline in imports and exports on the central corridor was largely fuelled by the fall in commodity prices.
“Also the fact that containerised volumes from neighbouring countries, including Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo, which used to pass through the Dar es Salaam port, moved out via other gateway ports like Durban in South Africa and Walvis Bay in Namibia,” Maersk line Eastern Africa trade manager Chukwuma Mokwe said.
The report indicates export growth was largely driven by tea, whose shipments grew by 43 per cent in the first nine months, helped by a slight weakening of the shilling against the US dollar.