Enforce order letting trucks ferry SGR cargo

Government twice announced suspension of orders but truckers want them scrapped and access fully restored

In Summary

• Truckers and traders are still demonstrating in Mombasa, saying they don't have free access to the port, despite the government's promise.

• The government must stand by its words and scrap the order mandating SGR transport only.Competition from which SGR is being shielded is the surest way to test its viability.

The Nairobi-Naivasha SGR.
The Nairobi-Naivasha SGR.
Image: FILE

Transport CS James Macharia has announced twice that the order blocking truckers from ferrying cargo from Mombasa Port has been suspended.

The announcement followed concerns about job losses in long-haul transport because the sector employs thousands of people directly and indirectly.

The impact the decision would have on struggling households would be financially and socially devastating.

The government must weigh the lives needy Kenyans against the financial targets of the SGR behemoth that has been declining, hence, the order on mandatory SGR hauling.

Even with Macharia'sassurances, truckers and traders have refused to relent. They want the 'illegal' order rescinded, not suspended and say their access to the port is still limited.

They demonstrate weekly in Mombasa.

The government must translate words into action, ensure truckers can enter and scrap that order.

Failure to act will reinforce the perception that bureaucrats are insincere.

What other conclusions could be drawn from denial of free access? Reassurances ring hollow.

Kenya is a capitalist state where unfettered competition is the hallmark of supply and demand for goods and services.

The government must allow customers to decide how they want their cargo transported from Mombasa.

The competition from which SGR is being shielded is the surest way to test its viability.


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Mario Puzo

The American novelist (The Godfather) was born on October 15, 1920