Naivasha ICD is a key node in East and Central African logistics

The new Naivasha Inland Container Depot. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The government’s recent directive to revert all the port services to Mombasa is ill advised. Cargo handling volume of the port of Mombasa has been increasing over the years with delays in cargo clearance as well as congestions being a common phenomenon.

A study conducted by the Africa development Bank (AfDB) indicates that longer Customs clearance rate, longer delivery times, low-capacity road network, an outdated and fragmented rail infrastructure, a non-existent inland waterway transport system and port congestions, has contributed to Africa’s poor logistics performance as compared to other developing regions in Latin America and Asia.

Statistics from the Kenya Ports Authority shows that Uganda at 76.7 percent, is the biggest market for Kenyan goods and the biggest client to the Mombasa port, especially for transit cargo, ahead of DR Congo, South Sudan and Rwanda. South Sudan takes up 9.9 per cent while DR Congo, Tanzania and Rwanda account for 7.2 per cent, 3.2 per cent and 2.4 per cent respectively.

Using the Naivasha port would have cut some 1,200 kilometres of trucking distance from Mombasa for transit cargo enroute to Kampala, Juba and DRC Congo.

Africa’s consumer market is expected to reach a value of $2.5 trillion by 2030, making it one of the fastest-growing consumer markets in the world, however, Africa accounts for only three per cent of global trade and has the lowest proportion of intra-regional trade than any other part of the world.

According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Africa relies heavily on ships and ports only to service its intercontinental trade.

Freight and transportation costs in East Africa are among the highest in the world.

According to Pricewaterhousecoopers (PwC), inconsistency in the interpretation of fiscal policies by several government agencies wreak supply chain activities in many African countries and has had adverse effects on the country’s economic growth potential.

The Naivasha Inland Container Depot (ICD) is not the only dry port in Kenya, others include, Eldoret Inland Port; Embakasi, which is linked by rail to Mombasa port, and Kisumu ICD which links Lake Victoria with Mombasa port by rail.

Such inland ports improve the movement of imports and exports, moving the time-consuming sorting and processing of containers inland, away from congested seaports.

The writer is a lecturer and research, Jomo Kenyatta Univesity of Science and Technology.

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