Government defends forced use of SGR


Kenya Railways managing director Atanas Maina. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The government has defended a directive to transport all imports coming in through Mombasa port via standard gauge railway (SGR) to Nairobi’s inland container depot (ICD).

Kenya Railways managing director, Atanas Maina, confirmed the order but says it was reached through consultation with other players including Container Freight Terminal (CFS) owners.

He also denied that the move to ferry cargo to Nairobi will interfere with CFS's work.

“All we are doing is shifting a point of cargo handling and not writing off the whole role that CFSs play. There are roles to play in Nairobi. ICD cannot handle the 28 million tonnes. There is still a lot of opportunities for them to do business,” said Mr Maina today, adding that there would be no job losses in Mombasa.

CFS owners and transporters have this week decried looming job losses due to the directive that they say forces importers to ferry cargo directly to the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Embakasi, Nairobi.

According to the directive, all un-nominated cargo will be transported through the rail.

Mr Maina was speaking in Mombasa while accompanied by Kenya Port Authority managing director Catherine Mturi-Wairi and Nairobi ICD manager Simon Wahome.

“I am certain that they (CFS owners) have identified opportunities and are doing what they need to do to ensure we create the good realignment that makes it possible for us to bring the benefit from the cargo and reduce the cost of transport,” he said.

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Ms Wairi said KPA has been engaging all players including shipping lines and cargo owners and employed a marketing strategy to reduce the tariffs for transportation.

“The movement of cargo cannot be done without the cargo owner’s direction on the same. On our part as KPA we have given them a very good tariff that currently for local we are giving 80 dollars for 20 foot container and 120 for a 40 foot container,” she said.