Shippers are in a crisis following a delay in transportation of containers to Nairobi from Mombasa Port.
The delay, attributed to damaged train wagons, has persisted for the last one month.
Shippers Council of Eastern Africa Chief Executive Gilbert Langat has warned of “chaos” amid high storage costs, delayed payment of duty and factories closing down as members mulled using trucks to transport the goods instead of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).
Kenya Railways Corporation, he said, was doing an average of seven to eight trains daily against and optimal 11 trains per day. The rail firm and Kenya Ports Authority take on average six hours to load and offload one train against an ideal of three hours.
In a circular, Langat told members that the number of containers awaiting haulage to the Nairobi Inland Container Depot was between 1,250 and 3,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) last week.
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This rose to over 4,000 TEUs this week following the discharge of over 5,330. Naivasha bound containers had also not been dispatched.
“The situation is often worsened by batch arrivals of vessels at the port, non-adherence to Free In and Out and now we are reliably told that a number of wagons are damaged,” said Langat.
The pileup comes as two vessels are expected between this week and four on Sunday.
Langat advised members to plan imports ahead to allow for possible delays and also import using Through Bill of Landing (TBL).
“With the foregoing we wish to advise that you should pre-plan your imports to incorporate possible delays and also to import TBL to cushion you against the unpredictable delay. Kindly negotiate favourable TBL rates,” he said.
He added that the council would continue to monitor and were engaging authorities and further asked importers to seek port clearance in case they required imported raw material or urgent cargo from the port.
“We also implore you to seek port clearance should you require your imported raw material and/or urgent cargo from the port,” he said.