• Cargo handled has increased from 20 to 45 per cent of capacity in three months since the IDP opened in early May. Volume expected to increase to 60 per cent by the end of the year.
• The depot handles two SGR trains daily. Clearance not yet fully automated.
The volume of goods received in the new Mai Mahiu Inland Container Depot via the SGR has doubled in three months.
According to the data from the facility, the volume rose from 20 to 45 per cent. The government projects it could hit 60 per cent of capacity by the end of the year.
The ICD located off the Mai Mahiu-Narok roadopened on May 7 and has received more than 8,000 containers.
Depot operations boss Peter Masinde from the Kenya Ports Authority said the number of containers is steadily increasing.
At least two cargo trains are unloaded daily, he said.
“Currently we are operating at 45 per cent [of capacity], which is an improvement compared to two months ago and most of the cargo is destined for Uganda and Rwanda,” he said.
He admitted the depot was not fully automated, adding that they were remotely relying on data from other centres to clear the goods.
“We are working with Safaricom to upgrade our data system by laying a fibre cable and this will hasten cargo clearance,” he said.
Speaking after hosting senior government officers at the facility, Masinde said revenue officers from Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan were already operating from the port.
“Covid-19 has created challenges in this sector but we are not clearing any goods until the drivers have a clearance certificate from the Ministry of Health,” he said.
Rift Valley Regional Commissioner George Natembeya who led the delegation called the depot critical in achieving the government's economic goals.
“We are delighted this facility is operating at over 40 per cent and the move to collect goods here will definitely create job opportunities for locals,” he said.
On constructing the metre-gauge railway from the ICD to Longonot, Natembeya said a contractor has started works.
He warned landowners who are hiking prices, saying the State would not be arm-twisted to compensate them above the current prices.
“We have come to realise the amount used to compensate affected facilities equals that used in the government projects and we need to address this," Natembeya said.
(Edited by V. Graham)