Kenya has offered Uganda land to build a dry port at Naivasha as part of the partnership on the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
President Uhuru Kenyatta said the SGR would have reached Naivasha by August and invited Uganda, the largest buyer of Kenyan goods, to join hands and extend it to Kampala.
President Yoweri Museveni welcomed Kenya’s offer for a dry port.
“We also look forward to partnering on other projects with our Kenyan brothers. For example, they have offered us land to build a dry port at Naivasha. The SGR is a project we are partnering on,” the Ugandan leader posted on his official Twitter account.
Uhuru noted the movement of cargo from the port of Mombasa to Kampala that previously took 21 days had reduced to seven days.
Other bilateral agreements signed on Wednesday night when Uhuru hosted Museveni in Mombasa will see Uganda’s sugar exports to Kenya increase from 36,000 tonnes to 90,000 tonnes. It will also resume the export of poultry to Kenya within weeks.
“In return, Uganda will immediately lift the ban on beef imports from Kenya since the mad cow disease that occasioned this ban is no more,” said Museveni.
He said there were more areas of cooperation in trade that Kenya and Uganda should continue exploring.
“The other sectors in Uganda that should benefit from these agreements are our dairy producers who will have less paperwork to do to export to Kenya,” said Museveni.?
Speaking when Uhuru and Museveni toured the port of Mombasa, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia said the Nairobi-Naivasha SGR link was more than 80 per cent complete.
He said the 120-kilometre stretch would be completed in August.
“In total, it will take 10 hours for the train to move from Mombasa to Naivasha,” said Macharia.
He said more than 3 million tonnes of cargo were transported on the SGR between January last year and this year.
Uhuru and Museveni also held talks on the Mombasa port’s efficiency.
At the port, Museveni was taken through the process of clearing cargo.
He inspected the second container terminal and later travelled to Nairobi on the SGR.
The two presidents also toured the ongoing construction of the Sh450 million cruise ship terminal set for completion in August.
Uhuru then left the facility, leaving Museveni with Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, Mr Macharia and top Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) officials.
KPA Managing Director Daniel Manduku said Uganda was the largest single transit market for the port of Mombasa, accounting for 80 per cent of total transit goods last year.
Julius Rubagumya, the Uganda’s Revenue Authority Manager in Kenya, said clearance of Ugandan cargo from the port had improved.
“We used to depend on the police to escort cargo to the border to deter any diversion to Kenyan market, but now we have an electronic cargo tracking system.
“This has reduced the days it takes to transport cargo to Malaba border,” said Mr Rubagumya.
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