President William Ruto on Saturday banned international firms from engaging in clearing and forwarding business and instructed state agencies at Mombasa Port to operate on a 24-hour basis.
Ruto said major shipping lines operating land-based logistics services were denying small firms in Kenya an opportunity to do business because of their financial muscle.
He said the ban of foreign shipping lines from clearing and forwarding business in the country will create many jobs for Kenyans who have been denied such opportunities.
For years, local firms decried that multinational firms that have opened One-stop logistics centres in Mombasa had elbowed them out of business because of their financial muscle.
Ruto’s move will reduce the dominance of foreign firms in local logistics and strengthen local firms. More than 50 nations have enacted laws restricting foreign access to domestic transportation.
For years, shipping lines have fought the implementation of Section 16(1) of the Merchant Shipping Act (MSC) of 2009 barring them from engaging in land-based segments in the shipping logistic supply chain.
Logistic expert Aisha Kadenge said Kenya‘s shipping industry was dominated by foreign companies, which have an equally strong presence in the auxiliary maritime sector.
“In such a setup, charges are easily introduced, some of which are not applicable in other world ports," she said, adding that foreign firms use their unique position to the disadvantage of local firms.
“For instance, a ship operator with a freight forwarding firm would waive certain local charges that a non-ship operating competitor would not be in a position to waive,” she said.
Speaking in Changamwe after he opened an assembly plant for the Toyota Fortuner vehicles at Miritini, Ruto also stopped the import of fish from China. He said the country had enough fish resources.
He said his administration would train and equip local fishermen to satisfy the country's demand for fish.