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Economy

Authority in bid to speed up return of cargo containers

An SGR cargo train leaves a terminal at the Port of Mombasa for  Nairobi’s Inland Container Depot. FILE PHOTO | NMG
An SGR cargo train leaves a terminal at the Port of Mombasa for Nairobi’s Inland Container Depot. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya Railways is to dedicate two trains daily to ferry empty containers from its Nairobi Inland Container Depot (ICD) to the port of Mombasa to reduce the backlog “and eventually clear it,” the ports authority has said.

Responding to complaints over delays, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) said the railway operator has scheduled one out of the five daily locomotives for the job.

Last weekend, it said, four out of the five trains were set aside for the task.

“Moving forward, the authority will be holding weekly consultative sessions with its customers to track the efficiencies of the new measures,” head of corporate affairs Bernard Osero said yesterday in a statement.

An average of 540 containers of cargo are ferried to Nairobi ICD from Mombasa through the SGR following an increase of freight trains from one to five daily.

On Tuesday, the Shippers Council of Eastern Africa (SCEA) had said that Kenya Railways and KPA should be held responsible for the delays being experienced in returning the containers.

The council said shippers have incurred millions of shillings in demurrage charges as a result of delays, adding that the matter should be resolved to cushion importers from further losses.

Friday the ports authority said: “We wish to assure all our esteemed customers that we are working round the clock on all system challenges to ensure seamless clearance of cargo. We urge cargo owners to take advantage of the free storage period to clear their cargo as soon as it lands at the ICD Nairobi,” Mr Osero said Friday.

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