Changes at KPA welcome, but new bosses must deliver
SEE ALSO :Drop in banks’ profit denies State Sh69bFailure to do so would leave management holding the bag for other agencies’ shortcomings. The good news is that KPA is alive to these challenges as manifested by its decision to reduce its cargo handling charges by as much as 23.5 per cent for cargo destined for the local market and by almost a third for goods being re-exported to the region. Export goods This is expected to boost the volume of cargo passing through the port at a time when Tanzanian ports have heightened competition for import and export goods to and from the region. The Dar government is so serious about eating Kenyans’ lunch that it is not only modernising Tanga and Dar-es-Salaam ports but has also reduced charges on cargo imported and exported through its facilities.
SEE ALSO :Court blocks destruction of Kwale sugarIt has also reduced charges levied for use of its roads. To maintain its advantage, the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) management is also offering discounted freight charges for all cargo. What is regrettable, however, is that Kenya has forced shipping agents to use SGR services considering the benefits derived from making its full use. Use of SGR gives Kenya the cash it needs to repay the loans used to build the line. To do otherwise is to guarantee that Kenyans dig deeper into their pockets to service loans when they become due. This strengthens the narrative peddled by critics that Kenya should have lagged behind in modernising its rail transport. These critics are either led or are part of the traditional development partners who are loath seeing their pre-eminent position undermined by Chinese’ chequebook diplomacy without pre-conditions. Increased use of SGR to move freight will reduce pressure on the Mombasa-Nairobi highway, hence less damage. The cash for maintenance can fund other projects. Reduced movement of freight will reduce accidents.