City truck ban affect exports


On Monday July 8 the Addis Ababa City Administration banned heavy trucks from driving through the city between 6:30 am and 8pm to speed up traffic flow. Now exporters using air cargo are saying they should be exempt.
The change has been visible as traffic jams have improved significantly during rush hour.
Tewodros Zewdie, Executive Director of the Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association (EHPEA), said that even though the decision has made a dent in traffic snarls, other side effects were not taken into consideration. According to Tewodros, Ethiopian flowers are exported via airfreight on both passenger and cargo flights.
“The flight schedules vary and our members need to be able to transport their products any time to Bole International Airport, which is the main hub for Ethiopian cargo mainly for flowers and meat export,” the Executive Director told Capital.
But based on the new directive issued by the Addis Ababa Cabinet,trucks that transport the perishable products to the airport are forced to stop their movement and fined, according to information that Capital obtained.
“We appreciate the directive but there should be several schemes like allowing movement of perishable export products, since the flight schedule is on a different timeframe and arranged by airlines,” Tewodros said.
People in the horticulture sector complained that the current problem affects the quality of their products which might force them to discard the flowers. Tewodros acknowledge that the association does not have any quantitative evidence so far about the effect of the new rule on their business.
“So far we do not have latest analysis but definitely the current situation will affect the quality of our members’ product,” he explained.
He said that in the past couple of days he has talked about the issue with relevant government bodies like the Addis Ababa City Transport Programs Management Office, who controls the scheme. This morning I was talking with people in the government about how best to move our products,” he told Capital on Friday July 12.He mentioned that city officials told him the city cabinet may make some changes.
Kenya and Ethiopia are the top flower exporters on the African continent.
Meat exporters said that they are also being affected. Abattoirs are complaining that their products have been stranded. They claimed that the quality of the product, which is sensitive, will be affected by any interruption.
Semere Jelalu, Traffic Safety and Management Deputy Head at Addis Ababa City Transport Programs Management Office, told Capital that trucks can pay a fee to operate in the city.
In the day time to move in the city from 10 am to 4 pm trucks must pay 500 birr per day, while on peak hours in the morning and evening they have to pay 1,000 birr per day, according to Semere.
The new rules allow medium trucks like vehicles that have a capacity of 3.5 tons to move from 10 am to 4 pm freely.
“Since the beginning of the new scheme we did not stop any trucks of the stated sectors but if they did not pay and take the document that allows their movement they might be penalized by traffic police,” he said.
“The aim of the fee is to discourage them from driving during the day and rush hour and to re-arrange their schedule,” he added.
But he said that exporters are complaining about the fee.
“The directive is issued by the City Administration that is also responsible to amend the directive in favor of such sectors,” Traffic Safety and Management Deputy Head at Addis Ababa City Transport Programs Management Office explained.
Capital tried to talk with Wondemu Felate, Public Relations head at Ministry of Trade and Industry about the issue but was not successful.