The container capacity at Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Nairobi is overstretched posing danger to users, the Kenya International Freight and Warehousing association (Kifwa) has said.
A statement signed by Kifwa national chairman William Ojonyo said the current ICDN yard population stands at 9,200 Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) against a yard capacity of 3,000 TEUs.
“It is clear to all of us that this not only poses a danger but may be a disaster in waiting given the fact the human beings are mingling with machinery and congested containers at the facility,” said the statement.
Mr Ojonyo said seven container trains depart from the port of Mombasa to Nairobi daily, translating to 22,680 TEUs per month, a figure way above the yard population at ICDN.
The congestion, according to the body, is also scuttling efforts to have a 100 per cent verification of containers by customs department.
“The verification yard at ICDN is practically not able to hold the demand by customs officers for 100 per cent verification of containers that presently stands at about 100 containers. We only have a handful of customs officers at the facility who can hardly verify 20 containers daily,” Kifwa said.
The statement further states that the capacity of the verification yard at ICD was designed not to handle more than 25 containers at a time not to mention KPA personnel and the strained number of terminal tractors(TT) to transfer and place containers against the customs department demand.
The body also says that some 7,772 containers that have been cleared are still being held by customs officials at ICDN.
Consequently, the association approximately that losses incurred as a result of inefficiency averages Sh100 million daily.
Kifwa further says that their attempt to address the issue with relevant bodies has failed.
However, when contacted, Kenya Ports Authority(KPA) managing director Daniel Manduku confirmed that ICD was getting an increased cargo number, but affirmed his organisation was addressing the situation.
He said the port was currently experiencing a surge in cargo due to increase of big ships docking.
Dr Manduku said that KPA has at the moment leased four storage facilities in Nairobi, to address cargo pile up at ICD.
The latest move, the MD said, will clear half of the yard capacity which he said is composed of long stay containers which are purely under KRA.