Kenyan Transporters have petitioned the Ugandan government over the proposed change of drivers at border points as a measure to curb the spread of coronavirus.
In a statement released on Sunday, Kenyan transporters say they acknowledge efforts and efficiency in measures the Ugandan government has introduced in the fight against coronavirus, but the latest proposal of relay driving should be reviewed.
In his latest communication over the issue of truck drivers, President Museveni said government is considering change over of cargo drivers at border points as a measure to stop the spread of coronavirus. The president said government had shifted focus in the fight against coronavirus to borders following surging cases of cross-border transmission of the virus.
Under such initiative, the transporters say trucking companies will need to deploy other drivers across the region which would increase the cost of transportation, while the business is struggling. They also claim that security and safety of cargo would be compromised under such an arrangement.
According to the Association’s Chief Operations Officer Mercy Ereri, the initiative would raise challenges with regards to insurance as any accidental or theft would be challenged by insurance companies.
They also say the relay driving changeover would create inefficiencies as well as challenges in tracing drivers’ responsibilities on trucks misuse, damages and theft of fuel.
“While we as Kenyan Transporters Association do agree with the resolutions and measures Uganda government Trade and Transport National Taskforce Sub-committee on usage of designated stops, same journey plans, no diversion of trucks from designated routes, one driver per truck and use of PPE’s, we hereby petition the Uganda government to review its position on relay driving.”the statement reads in part.
The transporters propose that truck drivers undergo mandatory tests for COVID-19 on borders, those found to be negative be allowed to proceed to their destination, while those found to be positive should undergo isolation.
They say they have instructed their members to adhere to the set regulations enacted by regional governments including provision to drivers with face masks, use of sanitizers, wearing gloves when handling documents, and regular hand-washing as they travel.
They claim that their members have undetaken regular sanitizing of yards and trucks after every trip, and they also welcome efforts of governments to sanitize trucks at border points.
They also proposed futher and faster engagemnet to come up with workable cargo movement approach within 4 weeks.