Evacuation of cargo from the Port of Mombasa is set to improve following the launch of double-stack wagons on the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) line.
Yesterday, the maiden double-stack train snaked its way from Mombasa to Nairobi’s Inland Container Depot (ICD).
“KPA is proud to announce the commencement of double-stacked trains from the Port of Mombasa to the ICD Nairobi,” said Kenya Ports Authority MD Daniel Manduku yesterday.
Currently, each of the eight SGR freight trains transports 108 containers from Mombasa to Nairobi.
Reports by KPA indicate that container off-take from the port to the ICD has registered tremendous growth, recording 5,121 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in the week ending September 19.
The TEU is the standard measurement of the containers.
Yesterday Kenya Railway Corporation (KR) said the double-stack train that left Mombasa was on a pilot run.
“This will double the capacity of cargo evacuated from Mombasa to the ICD. We plan to have two double-stack trains by Wednesday,” said KR Commercial Manager Julius Siele.
“If the off take of containers at the ICD improves, we will launch more,” he added.
And importers with cargo that has overstayed or is uncollected at the port and the ICD have 14 days to clear it or risk losing it.
Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and KPA issued the notice to importers to collect their cargo, failing which it would be destroyed.
According to an advertisement in the local dailies, KPA and KRA warned that cargo that was not collected by October 12 would be auctioned or destroyed.
In May, KPA amended free storage periods and tariffs for containers at the ICD in Embakasi, permitting four days of free storage.
But shippers say the waiver is a “quick-fix solution” to the complex problem of congestion that has choked the trade at the port for more than three months.
“The Government is losing a lot in terms of revenue due to these delays or congestion. Waivers are not the solution although they will ease our pain,” said Gilbert Langat.
Importers pay Sh1,500 and Sh2,200 for a 20-foot and a 40-foot container respectively after the four-day period until the container is removed from the port or loaded onto a vessel.
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