EDITORIAL: Cargo directive flawed

SGR cargo train
An SGR cargo train at the Nairobi Inland Container Depot. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The government is right to have withdrawn its recent directive requiring that all cargo from Mombasa is cleared in Nairobi.

The directive, issued via the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), would have had far reaching economic ramifications. It is important that the involved State agencies consult widely before adopting a final position on the matter.

The move forcing importers to use the standard gauge rail (SGR) to transport cargo would have impacted shippers negatively and any resultant additional costs would likely have been passed on to consumers.

It probably would have boosted SGR cargo revenues but hurt truckers and operators of container freight stations in Mombasa.

Additionally, the impact would not just be felt by those directly engaged in cargo transport industry; there’s a whole industry offering support services to transporters including in the hospitality and micro-retail sectors that would have been negatively impacted.


The government should refrain from issuing directives reminiscent of a bygone era where roadside declarations became law in order to benefit some at the expense of others.