Storm brews over port inefficiency

Raila alludes at another Jubilee gov't scandal at the Port of Mombasa
President Uhuru Kenyatta commissioning a new containers handling facility at the Port of Mombasa. Photo/Courtesy

The government has moved to boost efficiency at the port of Mombasa by having all undocumented cargo transferred to container freight stations in Mombasa.

The move is aimed at de-congesting the port at a time, pressure is mounting on the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) over inefficiency despite increased funding and use of the standard gauge railway to transport cargo.

By having all undeclared cargo moved to the CFS’ the government will be able to monitor movement of goods, which has deteriorated since the rollout of SGR cargo services in December.

Transport CS James Macharia, Industrialization CS Adan Mohamed, ICT CS Joe Mucheru and interior CS Fred Matiang’i toured the port over the weekend after reports emerged of cargo theft and operational losses that have made the port inefficient.

In a notice in the dailies, KPA operations general manager William Ruto said CFSs would be granted waiver on storage charges.

“It was resolved that in order to improve cargo off take and efficiency in the port, all import containers in the port that are un documented as at Friday 25th May, shall be nominated to various container freight stations within Mombasa,” Mr Ruto said.

Under the SGR cargo plan, the government plans to move up to 40 percent of all cargo from the port of Mombasa via rail to the Embakasi inland container depot.

The planned railing however got off to a slow start with among other issues, cargo owners and logistics firms complaining of the lack of coordination between various implementing government agencies.

In March, Mr Macharia made swooping changes to top KPA officials that saw 14 top managers at the KPA headquarters retire demoted or transferred.

The government has been keen to boost port efficiency with concerns of deep rooted corruption frustrating clearance of cargo.

CFS operators are likely to enjoy new business after concerns of loss of business with the government’s cargo evacuation plan.

“The list of containers nominated to the various CFSs shall be posted in the KPA website for importers to know which CFSs their containers have been nominated,” Mr Ruto said.

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