ROADS TOO

Naivasha ICD to reduce congestion at Nairobi depot, Mombasa port

In Summary

• The facility with the capacity to hold two million tonnes of cargo annually has already been handed over to the government.

• Salim said there will be fewer trucks on the Kenyan roads.

Naivasha dry port
Naivasha dry port
Image: / COURTESY
Naivasha dry port
Naivasha dry port
Image: / COURTESY
KPA acting MD Rashid Salim
KPA acting MD Rashid Salim
Image: / COURTESY

The Naivasha Inland Container Depot will reduce congestion at Nairobi ICD and Mombasa port, the Kenya Ports Authority has said.

The facility with the capacity to hold two million tonnes of cargo annually has already been handed over to the government.

The contractor - China Communications Construction Company Limited - handed over the project on May 7.

The Sh6.9 billion facility is established on over 1,000 acres.

The Chinese company will, however, remain liable for the project until May 6, 2021, under the defects notification period.

A defects period is the time the contractor remains liable for dealing with any defects that crop up after the completion of a project.

Speaking to the Star on the phone, KPA acting MD Rashid Salim said the depot will reduce the number of trucks on the roads and facilitate seamless transshipment of goods to neighbouring countries.

“We moved 64 Total Equivalent Units (TEUs) using the first train, 50 TEUs using the second one. The third train moved 50 TEUs while the fourth train moved 100 TEUs,” Salim said.

Salim said on Thursday the fifth train moved 104 TEUs.

“We are working on a modality of how to clear cargo fast,” he said.

Salim said there will be fewer trucks on the Kenyan roads. Those transporting cargo will also pay less.

He said a truck from Mombasa to Kampala takes an average of eight to 10 days. However, a truck from Naivasha to Kampala takes between two to three days.

Salim said the equipment for loading cargo has been provided. He said there are 20 people operating from the site.

“We are sending more equipment and increasing the number of people working as the volumes of cargo increases,” he said.

Early this year, KPA announced that the port of Mombasa had hit an all-time high container handling capacity of 1.4 million TEUs, beating last year’s record of 1.3 million TEUs.

KPA said it had set a target of handling 1.35 million TEUs for 2019.

However, due to improved efficiency and performance, they surpassed the target by 50,000 containers.

The authority said the attainment of 1.4 million TEUs represents a growth of 7.3 per cent over last year’s 1.304 million TEUs, an increase of 97,000 TEUs.

Salim said facilities such as the Port Health Services, the Kenya Revenue Authority and Kenya Railways offices are also based at the ICD.

The acting MD said plans are in place to promote the new facility.

When asked what will happen to the Nairobi Inland Container terminal, Salim said it will continue to be in operation.

Salim said talks were underway between governments that had been offered space such as Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

On Tuesday, Transport CS James Macharia confirmed that the dry port was operationalised on May 7.

“The Naivasha ICD was operationalised on May 7 when we received the first train from Mombasa. Uganda and Rwanda [are] now picking cargo from Naivasha,” Macharia said in a short text message.

Experts have questioned the rationale for the dry port, with the extension of the SGR from Naivasha to Malaba uncertain.

Kenya spent Sh150 billion on Phase 2A of the SGR project, but is yet to secure funding to extend the railway line to Kisumu, then to Malaba border.

In April, Uhuru went to China, hoping to secure $3.6 billion but the Asian giant declined, citing lack of feasibility. It asked Kenya to negotiate with Uganda.

The country, however, secured $400 million (Sh40 billion) to rehabilitate the 120-year-old railway line to Uganda.