Murimi Mutiga @murimimutiga
Containers delivered out of the port of Mombasa by rail transport increased from 273 Twenty Feet Equivalent Units (TEUs) to 438 TEUs during the last week of January.
The increase has been attributed to commencement of Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) cargo haulage service and a rebate on tariffs by the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) in order to promote the use of its Inland Container Depot in Nairobi.
Charges for handling a local 20-foot container is now $80 (Sh8,094.8) from $103 (Sh10,422.1) while a 40-footer container will cost $120 (Sh12,142.2) instead of $157 (Sh15,886.05). Transit- bound container will now cost $60 (Sh6,071.1) for a 20 footer down from $90 (Sh9,106.65) while a 40 footer will cost $90 (Sh9,106.65) down from $125 (Sh12,648.13).
The increase is quite significant considering the rail system has been recording less than 300 TEUs for a long time. KPA said haulage of cargo from the port to Nairobi by train is expected to increase further following reduction in tariffs by Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC). However, containers delivered out of the port by road transport also grew from 11,111 TEUs to 11,865 TEUs.
This is an indication that road transport still remains the most preferred mode of moving cargo from the port of Mombasa by many cargo importers. Data shows that in the week under review, 14 vessels, which docked at the port, discharge a total of 32,740 TEUs.