Cargo transporters spell out terms for SGR cargo service


President Uhuru Kenyatta launches the upgraded Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Embakasi. PHOTO| PSCU
President Uhuru Kenyatta launches the upgraded Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Embakasi. PHOTO| PSCU

Clearing agents and cargo transporters have asked the Kenya Railways Corporation to provide 30 days of free storage at the Nairobi inland container depot (ICD).

The request is part of a raft of measures being proposed by the Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (KIFWA) to resolve the logistical hiccups that have seen Kenya Railways stall the use of the cargo service on the standard gauge railway.

Launched in December, the SGR cargo service has been slow to take off over lack of cargo to transport as sector players looked for better customer service.

KIFWA has also asked for assurances on the specific timeliness by the Kenya Ports Authority and the Kenya Revenue Authority on how long it will take from loading into the wagon, arrival and clearance to minimize operating costs.

“The directors resolve to be given at least 30 days storage free days at ICD to clear & evacuate their cargo & be assured of similar benefits as the ones they have been enjoying at Mombasa’s container freight stations (CFS),” KIFWA Chairman William Ojonyo said.

KIFWA had invited representatives from KRA and KPA, who skipped the meeting seeking to get a working solution.

Mr Ojonyo said that the four days free storage time given at the SGR terminal may not be enough and could lead to higher demurrage fees due to inefficiency in clearing procedures at the ICD.

The government plans to move 40 percent of cargo from the port of Mombasa using the SGR.

A 20-foot container is transported at Sh30,000 and double the price for a 40 foot container compared to Sh80,000 and Sh120,000 respectively by road.

The government is seeking to use the SGR line to minimize cargo truck on the road and boost income from the railway service.

Under the SGR cargo plan, Kenya Railways has been set a target of moving six million tons to the Nairobi ICD

Kenya Railways had planned to run cargo trains with 54 double-stack flat wagons able to handle up 50 4,000 tons of cargo per train.

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