On April 28, 2015, Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure and Northern Corridor Transit Transport Coordination Authority (NCTTCA) held Roadside Stations Investor Conference. The main objective of the conference was to mobilize investment towards the construction of Roadside Stations (RSS). Roadside Stations is a program that will enhance road safety and health along the Northern Corridor (NC) using RSSs as a launch pad. Other benefits accrued from the system will include, improved transport facilities resulting to reduce cost of doing business, generation of income for communities living where the program is being implemented and protection of the environment.
A well designed RSS will also eliminate driver fatigue as well as improve security and health for crews, long distance passengers and cargo. NTCTTC Authority comprises countries such as Burundi, DR Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan and Uganda, and it was established to promote co-operative transit and transport arrangements with a view to foster an efficient and cost effective transit system along the Northern Corridor.
The conference, themed, “Development and promotion of RSS as transport infrastructure facilities’ was attended by key stakeholders from private and public sectors from Member States and outside the region as well as development partners such as Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Trademark East Africa (TMEA), World Bank, African Development Bank European Union and other Donors.
During the launch, Ag. CS for Transport and Infrastructure, James Macharia said “The Government of Kenya fully supports and embraces this program as a priority of developing the transport services and corridors to international standards as part of cargo, movement of people as well as promoting regional business linkages.” “The concept of RSS is aimed at creating designated rest stop points for all travelling communities including trucks, traders and passengers to not only promote socio-economic status of the Member States but also promote safer regional transport and trade along our transport corridors,” Macharia added.
RSS will provide secure parking yards for transit vehicles as well as rest facilities, restaurants, information centers and outlets for amenities needed by truck crews and long distance passengers. After the launch, a group of panellists led by East African community (EAC), Director of Infrastructures, Mr Philip Wambugu, made some presentations on the importance of constructing RSS along NC. Mr Wambugu also made his presentation on the importance of transport infrastructure in promoting regional integration in order to fast-track regional connectivity.
First, a representative from NCTTCA made the first presentation on reasons for investing in RSS. The representative made it clear that the study of creating the RSS started in the last quarter of 2013 and benchmarking analysis of similar experiences, legal framework and review of technical characteristics of the NC and facilities being done. Also, consultations have been carried out with different level of stakeholders in the public and private sector, individual potential users of the roadside stations, local communities with business along the NC and different associations such as freight and passenger transport. He further summarized key steps undertaken in the selection process which include, identification of key border crossings, estimation of traffic flows through the border crossings and forecasts for the future and appraisal of controls and procedures that are in place planned for each border crossings among others.
In addition, JICA, Chief Representative, Mr Hideo Eguchi described how Japan promotes business through Roadside Station using the Michi-No-Eki pilot model. Mr.Hideo said that by implementing RSS along the Northern Corridor, it will enhance socio-economic development by increasing freight volume to port and other EAC countries , and reduce logistics cost.
In attendance during the one day conference was Eng. Musonik, PS Infrastructure, Director General Kenya National Highways Authority (KENHA), Eng. Linus Tonui and Country Director, Trademark East Africa, Dr.Chris Kiptoo.
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