Importers are free to choose the preferred mode of transport for their cargo whether by the Standard Gauge Railway or trucks since a suspension order is still in force.
Government Spokesperson Cyrus Oguna said the suspended order on transportation of cargo from Mombasa to Nairobi by SGR gives importers the freedom to choose which means to ferry their cargo.
“The directive to use SGR was withdrawn by the government and transporters have the freedom of choice which mode of transport to use between SGR and trucks. Claims that the government is forcing business people to use SGR are not true,” stated Mr Oguna, in a statement to the press.
His remarks came in the wake of claims by a section of importers that they were being forced to transport their cargo via the SGR.
“There are as many as 1,000 trucks that are currently transporting cargo out of Mombasa on a daily basis. It is equally not true that the cargo destined for Mombasa is being first transported to Nairobi and then re-routed to Mombasa,” he added.
The government has since maintained its stand that importers are free to choose which mode of transport to ferry their goods from the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) in Mombasa.
This comes amid protests by business people, accusing the government of monopolising businesses at the port, by insisting that all cargo be transported by the SGR to the Nairobi Inland Container Depot (ICD).
During a media tour at the KPA over the weekend, operations manager William Ruto said they were loading containers on about 700 to 1,000 trucks daily.
“We have a lot of trucks in the port loading containers others loading and other general cargo. We give everybody freedom to choose which mode of transport to use. The evidence is in the number of trucks we are loading per day,” said Mr Ruto.
He declined having direct interactions with transporters.