Truckers stare at Sh300m losses monthly from political protests


The Chief executive officer of Kenya Transporters Association Ms Mercy Ireri. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The weekly protests called by the opposition will cost truckers more than Sh300 million monthly on regional transport of goods, a move likely to hurt trade between Kenya and its landlocked neighbours.

Kenya Transporters Association (KTA) chief executive officer Mercy Ireri says during protests there will be zero movements of trucks as the owners withdraw them from the roads for fear of being vandalised by protesters.

Ms Ireri said a truck that is not moving in a day incurs a loss of $200 (Sh26,180) with about 1,650 of the heavy commercial vehicles crossing the Malaba and Busia borders every day.

“Truckers make money when the wheels are moving. When they are not, they incur a loss of at least $200 each day that there is no movement,” said Ms Ireri.

She said the protests will have far-reaching consequences on the neighbouring nations of Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as the goods in transit will delay getting to these countries within the required time.

Kenya’s opposition chief Raila Odinga took to the streets on Monday to protest among other things, the high cost of living and elections management after a 14-day ultimatum that he had issued to President William Ruto to address the issues ended.

The protests, which have now been scaled up two days a week, curtailed movement in and out of Nairobi for the better part of the day as the police battled it out with the protesters.

The Northern Corridor, which runs from Nairobi to Mombasa is a key route for cargo destined for Great Lakes countries and any disruption in movement impacts negatively the neighbouring landlocked nations.

Ms Ireri said the chaos witnessed in Kisumu will affect tankers that transport fuel from the Kenya Pipeline Authority depot from the lakeside city to Uganda.

Uganda receives over 185 million litres of petroleum products, mostly channelled through the Kisumu port.

The uncertainty along the Northern Corridor has over the years seen countries such as Uganda opt for alternative routes to avoid disruption in the flow of goods.

For instance, the uncertainty occasioned by the August general election saw Uganda and other countries along the northern corridor use the Dar es Salaam port in shipping their goods through the central corridor.

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