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Players welcome reversed Standard Gauge Railway order

By Harrison Kivisu
Tuesday, July 7th, 2020
A Standard Gauge Railway locomotive. Photo/PD/FILE
In summary
    • Cargo transporters and importers among the players happy about the move to make it personal choice to use rail or road.
    • KPA expected to publish official notice of the reversal on local dailies.
    • Coastal leaders say move would return lost glory in the northern transport corridor, especially along Nairobi-Mombasa highway.

Cargo importers and transporters have welcomed the reversal of the mandatory cargo transportation by the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) to both Nairobi and Naivasha Inland Depots saying it was long overdue.

The Kenya Transporters Association (KTA) executive director Dennis Ombok, welcomed the move saying transportation of cargo from Mombasa port will now be optional for those who would wish to use the road or rail.

“Today is a very good day for us. We are happy as transporters that KPA (Kenya Ports Authority) has listened to us and we are waiting for the publishing of the agreements.

KPA has assured us that it will publish them on the local dailies for our members to see,” said Ombok.

The proclamation of mandatory haulage of cargo via the SGR was fiercely opposed by truck business owners and lawmakers from the coastal region, as well as those from towns located along the Mombasa-Nairobi highway that benefit immensely from the trucking business.

KPA operations General Manager Captain William Ruto confirmed  that the notice was within their custody and would communicate through a public advertisement to make it clear how transporters would choose the mode of transportation they want.

“We have confirmed that we had a very fruitful meeting with Mombasa legislators and transporters, and we are going to issue a communication on how the policy will be delivered,” said Ruto.

The Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (Kifwa) led by Prabitulal  Shah expressed their joy after the decision was adopted by the KPA saying it was long overdue.

“It has been agreed that optional directive is the decision and as key players, we are happy. This will revive business in the Northern Corridor,”said Shah.

Welcome move

The move was backed by the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Mombasa chairman Mustapha Ramadhan, who said the business community was happy with the decision.

Addressing the media at the KPA headquarters in Mombasa, area leaders and transport stakeholders confirmed the revocation order notice directing importers and their clients to use any of the means to deliver their goods to Nairobi or Naivasha.

Mvita MP Abdulswamad Sharif Nassir said parliament did the due diligence in revoking the earlier directive that SGR would be the sole means to deliver cargo to the two dry ports.

“We engaged all the transport stakeholders and resolved that everyone would be free to use their preferred means to transport their cargo from the port of Mombasa. 

We are calling on all the sector players to inform their members,” said Nassir.

He urged his colleagues in parliament to adopt the report, with his Likoni counterpart Mishi Mboko citing communication breakdown.

Mboko said the issues to do with cargo transport were previously not properly addressed.

“We sat as MPs and agreed there must be a way to pass the message to all stakeholders to know it is now optional to transport cargo using SGR or road. We can confirm that KPA has agreed to allow transporters use whichever means they want,”she said.

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