Business Daily, 15th June 2022 High toll charges push Siginon out of DRC line

Logistics firm Siginon Group has pulled its trucks out of the Dar es Salaam-Lubumbashi route due to hefty road toll charges that it says have made the route unviable.

The firm said it has become unstainable to pay $1,670 (Sh195,724) in road toll charges when moving a truck from Dar es Salaam to Lubumbashi-the third largest city in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The money is normally paid in two tranches which include $1325 (Sh155, 290) to DRC and $345 (Sh40,434) to Zambian authorities.

Zambia collects toll charges for trackers heading to DRC from Tanzania because they have to pass through their borders.

“We have pulled our tracks out of Dar es Salaam-Lubumbashi route. We are pulling our trucks out of this route because road toll charges imposed by sister governments are just too high and this makes it impossible for us to do business,” said Siginon Group managing director Meshack Kipturgo in an interview on Tuesday.

Mr Kipturgo said that imposing exorbitant toll charges across East Africa is inhibiting trade across the Common Market for Eastern and Southern African states.

He said that leaders across the region must now sit down to harmonise road toll charges imposed on trackers in the region to promote trade.

“Our customers are also not willing to pay us back on time because when toll charges are high, we have to pass over the cost to them,” he said.

Plans by Siginon Group to pull its trucks out of the DRC route come barely a month after Tanzania announced plans to cut its road toll by about 71 percent on the Uganda-bound cargo trucks, as part of the agreement reached during the meeting of leaders of the two countries.

From mid-last year, the Tanzanian government charged $500 (Sh58,620) on Ugandan cargo trucks as fees collected for road repairs and maintenance.

However, starting next financial year this July, the country will charge $10 (Sh1,772) per 100km on cargo trucks plying the 1,485km Mutukula-Dar es Salaam route.

The $10(ShSh1, 772) translates into close to $144 (Sh16, 882) for the distance, down from the $500 ((Sh58620).

The anticipated $144 (Sh16, 882) levy is the flat rate across the Comesa (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) regional bloc.

Tanzania serves as a gateway to the sea to its landlocked neighbours such as Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and Malawi, mainly through the Dar es Salaam port.

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