Effects of the 1997/98 Elnino Rainfall on Input Costs and Productivity of Nairobi-Based Road Freight Operators
This study examines the effects of the 1997-98 El-Nifio rainfall on input costs and vehicle productivity of Nairobi-based road freight operators. The analysis is based on a comparison of changes in input costs and productivity indicators six months before, during and after the 1997-98 El-Nifio rainfall. Data for analysis were collected from 110 transport operators using a questionnaire. Input costs were computed for: fuel; wear and tear; maintenance and wages. Vehicle productivity was examined using the following variables: vehicle-kilometres travelled; duration of travel per trip; number of vehicle trips per week; persons employed per vehicle and average profits accruing per vehicle trip. The Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) has been used for data processing and analysis. The first stage of data processing and analysis involved computation of the arithmetic mean to describe the variables. The second stage involved testing of hypotheses by use of analysis of variance and F-distribution to determine if the differences observed in the average values for input costs and productivity variables were statistically significant. The findings reveal that the arithmetic mean for all input costs indicators were higher during El-Nifio rainfall than before and after the rains. Significant difference (P :::;0.05) was, however, observed only in wear and tear costs. Higher mean values, on the other hand, were reported for productivity indicators of vehicle-kilometres per trip, duration of travel and the number of persons employed per vehicle during El-Nifio. Lower mean values, on the other hand, were observed for vehicle productivity indicators of vehicle trips per week, volume of goods transported per week and the estimated profit accruing per vehicle trip during the rains. Significant differences (P :::; 0.05) were observed for vehicle kilometre travelled per week, duration of travel per trip, vehicle trips, volume of goods transported and the number of persons employed per vehicle. The conclusion that emerges is that though there existed some transport constraints in the form of poorly managed and maintained infrastructure, narrow roads and traffic congestion among others, the El-Nii'io rainfall intensified their effect, eventually increasing operational costs and lowering vehicle productivity. The main recommendation is that transport planning and management needs to consider creation of alternative routes or expansion of the existing ones to enhance interconnectivity, especially in Nairobi where vehicular traffic is high.