UK: The Establishment Of The Land Transport Regulatory Authority

Last Updated: 27 May 2019
Article by Peter Kasanda, Amalia Lui, Esther Kilimba and Amreen Ayub

In this briefing, we outline the highlights of the Land Transport Regulatory Authority Act No. 3 of 2019 (the LATRA Act) which came into force on 29 April 2019 via the Land Transport Regulatory Authority Act (Date of Commencement) Notice No. 358 of 2019. While the LATRA Act establishes the Land Transport Regulatory Authority (LATRA) it also repeals the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority Act No. 9 of 2001 (the SUMATRA Act) which established the Surface and Marine Transport Authority (SUMATRA). The LATRA Act is only applicable to Tanzania Mainland.

Highlights of the LATRA Act

  • Regulates land transport only: road, rail, and underground / cable transport
  • Repeal of SUMATRA
  • The transition period from the date of commencement
  • Must abide by sector specific legislation
  • Has one less ground of appeal to the Fair Competition Tribunal (FCT)
  • Reduces the imprisonment term for contravention by an individual
  • Introduces a fine for contravention by a body corporate
  • Takes precedence where there is inconsistency with sector legislation

Summary of key changes in the LATRA Act

New authority

LATRA is tasked with regulating the transport sector and seeks to replace the previous authority, SUMATRA, which dealt with the transport sector as well as marine sector.

Unlike the SUMATRA Act which provided for different dates for the commencement of different parts or provisions; the whole LATRA Act is expected to have commenced i.e. on 29 April 2019.

Some important functions of LATRA include; coordinating land transport safety activities, registering crew and certifying drivers of rail, road, underground and cable transport. It is also tasked with certifying the worthiness of rail track, public service and goods vehicles.


The SUMATRA Act provides for a class licence which is granted to multiple persons engaged in the provisions of services within the surface and marine sectors; the LATRA Act provides for another type of licence; a long term licence which lasts for a period of 5 years or more.

Contravention of international agreements

The SUMATRA Act required SUMATRA to abide by international agreements to which Tanzania is a party; this provision is missing from the LATRA Act.

Intervention by the Attorney General (the AG)

Section 4 (3) of the LATRA Act provides that the AG shall have the right to intervene in a matter instituted by or against the Government; unlike in the SUMATRA Act the intervention will now be done through the Solicitor General. In addition when suing the Government a person or body corporate will not be required to give the AG 90 days' notice.

Challenging the decision of LATRA

The decisions of LATRA will be reviewed by the LATRA Board within 14 days of the aggrieved party having received it. If the person is further aggrieved they will appeal to the FCT.

Public register

To ensure transparency, Section 25 of the LATRA Act provides for a public register to be published by LATRA and made available to the public. Unlike the SUMATRA Act, the LATRA Act does not provide for how and when the public can access / inspect the register.

Failure to abide by the code of conduct

The LATRA Act makes it an offence and provides for disciplinary action when a member or employee of the LATRA Board fails to comply with the code of conduct which is prepared and published by LATRA.

The main points to note include:

  1. the Tanzania Shipping Agencies Act No. 14 of 2017 (the Act) has given TASAC an exclusive mandate in relation to clearing and forwarding functions relating to import and export of: minerals; mineral concentrates; machineries; equipment; and products or extracts related to minerals and petroleum. Since TASAC only regulates ports, shipping services and related maritime matters, it is evident that it will not regulate the import and export of minerals transported via land.
  2. the transition period of 6 months as provided by section 51 of the LATRA Act can be extended by the Minister for land transport as he deems necessary to ensure that SUMATRA has been wound up and its assets and liabilities have successfully been transferred to LATRA.
  3. that LATRA will deal with surface transport sector related disciplinary proceedings / matters that were initially under SUMATRA.
  4. any reference by any written laws to the SUMATRA Act shall be a reference to the LATRA Act.
  5. introduction by the LATRA Act of a new provision under Section 44 which restricts a judgement creditor from executing / attaching / processing their judgement / order against property / assets of LATRA. Instead, the awarded amount will be paid out of LATRA's revenues.
  6. The LATRA Act has given extensive powers to the LATRA Board to consider legislative proposals relating to land transport services and recommend their enactment to the Minister of land transport.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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