- Demonstrations against the directive were organized for every Monday to try and force the government to rescind the directive.
- KenTrade chair Suleiman Shahbal said the SGR is there to stay and no amount of protests will change that.
Transporters and other traders affected by the SGR need to start thinking outside the box and come up with ways of overcoming the cargo haulage challenge.
The Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade) has said it is no use lamenting over the SGR, 'which has had a huge negative effect on the economy of Mombasa'.
Speaking during the 4th Entrepreneurship Summit in Mombasa on Saturday, KenTrade chair Suleiman Shahbal said the standard gauge railway is there to stay and that no amount of protests will change that.
“I’m of the view that government should and must reverse this edict that 100 per cent of our cargo must go on SGR. But also, we need to start preparing for this thing. It is a reality that we are facing,” Shahbal said.
The Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Revenue Authority ordered that all imported cargo be transported aboard the SGR cargo train effective August 7 last year.
This paralysed business for hauliers and freighters leading to job cuts.
The government, through Transport CS James Macharia, said the order was suspended, but transporters on the ground said nothing had changed.
Demonstrations against the directive were organised for every Monday to try and force the government to rescind the directive.
On Saturday, Shahbal said Mombasa business community must think of what needs to be done as a port city to ensure more business comes into the county.
“We must reinvent ourselves as a city. You cannot continue doing business the same way our grandparents did 50 years ago,” he said.
Mombasa is not the only port city in the world affected by such things as the SGR, he added.
“Other cities reinvent themselves."
He called for a stakeholders' meeting to brainstorm ways of overcoming the challenge.
Edited by R.Wamochie