Transport CS Macharia defends new SGR cargo directive

Transport CS Macharia defends new SGR cargo directive
File image of Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia. PHOTO| COURTESY

Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia on Thursday defended the government’s order that all cargo be ferried from Mombasa to Nairobi through the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

Appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Transport, CS Macharia denied allegations that the directive could paralyse the Coastal region economy, and instead provided statistics that the SGR has created more jobs.

The Transport CS told the committee members that ferrying cargo through SGR was much cheaper than via road.

CS Macharia, however, noted that the order had been suspended to allow for more consultations, although he insisted that prior consultations had been done before issuing the directive.

“We did consultations, but we have withdrawn the order because we want to carry along everyone, we are not trying to make a monopoly, all we are doing to provide effective transport,” the CS told the David Pkosing-led Committee.

During the session, emotions ran high as MPs from the Coastal region clashed with some members of the Transport Committee over the controversial order to transport all cargo by SGR.

Mathira MP Rigathi Gachagua clashed with Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir after he (Gachagua) claimed that those opposing the order were trying to protect their personal interests.

The Mathira MP claimed that some Coastal legislators opposing the directive own container freight stations and were fighting for their businesses.

A section of MPs especially those from the Coast insisted that the government should not bully importers to use one mode of transport.

The CS requested for three weeks to conclude consultations before making a final decision.

The directive, which was to take effect beginning Wednesday, August 7, was put on hold on Tuesday evening to allow for stakeholder consultation.

The order issued of Friday last week states: “All imported cargo for delivery to Nairobi and the hinterland shall be conveyed by Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) and cleared at the Inland Container Depot – Nairobi.”

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Story By Edwin Obuya
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