SGR cargo directive breathes life into Embakasi depot

SGR cargo train at the Mombasa Port. [BONIFACE OKENDO, STANDARD]
A raft of measures taken by Government agencies to increase the use of cargo service on the Standard Gauge Railway have handed a lifeline to the Embakasi Inland Container Depot (ICD).

The inland port, which has in the past suffered major underutilisation, is now reporting booming business, and is even contemplating doing away with incentives put in place earlier to lure cargo owners.

Promotional tariffs

These include lengthy grace periods before importers are charged for storage.

SEE ALSO :Trucks still carry more containers than SGR

Symon Wahome, head of ICD at Kenya Ports Authority, said on Monday utilisation of the Embakasi depot had increased to 60 per cent from the previous 30 per cent. About 324 containers, he said in an interview, were now being handled at ICD every day.

The cargo is being brought in by three trains from Mombasa. This is in addition to containers holding cargo for export as well as empty containers being hauled back to Mombasa.

“We now have three trains per day each bringing 108 containers of cargo. We are also handling empty containers as well as export cargo that are going to Mombasa. We have been getting a lot of interest and cargo from exporters including coffee traders from as far as Uganda and Rwanda,” said Mr Wahome.

The Government has been instituting measures geared at increased use of the new railway and the inland depot.

These include promotional tariffs for cargo moved on SGR, KPA nominating Cargo to ICD in Nairobi as well as a directive compelling importers to use the railway service and the depot.

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