TRADE

Kenya banks on Naivasha hub to control regional transit cargo trade

Kenya puts in place infrastructure for regional cargo trade

In Summary

•State has lowered cost of shipping containers from 2000 USD to 860 USD as well as cut out the bureaucratic tapes to woo neighbouring countries.

The transshipment process at the Naivasha ICD on Monday, Januray 17, 2022. /WILFRED NYANGARESI

Kenys is set to become the main cargo handling hub in the region, Kenya Railways Managing Director Philip Mainga said on Monday.

It has already revamped and linked the old meter gauge railway line to the SGR to cut the clearing tariffs and reduce bureaucracies in order to attract traders from neighbouring countries.

Mainga on Monday took journalists on a conducted tour of the Naivasha-based dry port to witness the transshipment of import containers moved from the port of Mombasa to the Inland Container Deport using SGR onto a meter gauge line for onward rail transportation to Malaba.

KRA, Kenya Ports of Authority and the  Kenya Bureau of Standards are now operating under one roof to ease transhipment.

Charges for clearing and shipping a 20 foot  container using the railway line will  cost 860 US dollars down from 2000 US dollars currently charged on road shipment.

Further, cargo clearing from Mombasa to Malaba will take 28 hours from 7 days as is currently the case, Mainga said.

The corporation plans to install an automated transshipment machinery at the ICD so that the containers can be moved from SGR to MGR train in less than 30 minutes. This should be ready by end of March.

The MD said the revamping of the 465km of old meter gauge railway rehabilitated from Longonot to Malaba is a game changer.

“The government is out to ensure movement of cargo through rail system is efficient, reliable, safe and that is why the rehabilitation of the 465km is a landmark for us,”he said.

He said the state has engaged Uganda to work on its lines and link it with the Kenyan one at Malaba border point all the way to Kampala to ensure seamless shipping of cargo from Mombasa to Kampala.

“We have also struck a deal with South Sudan to ensure that they pick their cargo at the Naivasha dry port to save them costs and cut out time spent in the process,” he said.