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SGR to take priority in Mombasa port decongestion plan

Vested interests in clearing cargo has been the lead cause of congestion at the port of Mombasa. This emerged as acting managing director Daniel Manduku said he is prioritising the Standard Gauge Railway freight operations to boost cargo transportation and enhance efficiency at the port and Inland Container Depot.

“When you bring with you personal interests at your workplace do you think you will deliver? Instead of working to deliver you will begin to prioritise your interests,” he said.

The 472km Standard Gauge Railway line from Mombasa to Nairobi has helped lower conventional cargo and ship congestion, besides enhancing Mombasa’s image as a regional logistics hub.

“Mombasa port remains the most connected in the region, with at least 33 shipping lines calling and providing direct connectivity to more than 80 ports worldwide, and using the cargo train eases congestion,” he said.

The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) boss said SGR has helped decongest Mombasa port by hastening the off loading of cargo from ships for onward transportation to Nairobi and other interland destinations via the modern high-speed rail network.

“The movement of cargo by the modern rails has helped ease the cost of doing business in Mombasa and its environs,” he said, adding that it has also eased vehicular traffic on the port access roads.

Some 1,300 containers arrive at the port daily with about 800 being loaded to the cargo trains bound for the Nairobi Inland Container Deport (ICD).

He said ICD Nairobi works 24 hours and clients are encouraged to clear their cargo even during weekends.

Although the SGR has affected the multi-billion-shilling Container Freight Stations (CSFs) businesses, Manduku says there are numerous untapped opportunities for the operators to exploit.

He said CFS operators should turn their storage yards into transhipment centres instead of moaning over the SGR.

“The CFSs were created to handle transit cargo so there is no need to worry over lack of business,” he said. He revealed a system failure at ICD had been engineered by cartels to undermine SGR services.

Meanwhile, the Sh40 billion relocation of Kipevu Oil Terminal is expected to begin on December 1. Manduku said the contract for construction of the terminal has already been awarded to China Construction Communications Works.

He said the new terminal will have capacity to handle four big ships of up to 100,000 DWT and will have a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) line that will aid in gas supply in the country.

“The project is fully funded by KPA, once complete, it will store and supply fuel to the tanks owned by Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) and other oil companies,” he said.

He said the two oil termini currently in use are old and overwhelmed by volume of imported oil and gas. “Completion of the new terminal will supplement the two facilities at the Old Kipevu terminal and Shimanzi,” he said.

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