William Ruto's order on port takes effect, impact not yet felt

Kenya Railways and Kenya Ports Authority officials offload cargo from the SGR train to the Meter Gauge Railway cargo train at the Inland Container Depot in Mai Mahiu Naivasha for onwards transportation to Malaba.

The Kenya Ports Authority has implemented President William Ruto's directive by allowing importers using the port of Mombasa to decide where to collect their cargo.

In a notice to shipping lines and their agents yesterday, KPA said importers were free to document the place of clearance of their cargo and choose the mode of transport.

KPA acting Managing Director John Mwangemi advised the shipping lines to facilitate importers' nomination of the place of clearance, including port clearance, Kenya Revenue Authority's license, Container Freight Station (CFSs) and KPA inland container depots.

Mwangemi said the authority was committed to implementing the directive issued by President Ruto that clearing of all goods and other attendant operational issues to revert to the port of Mombasa.

Further, he said the latest notice superseded an earlier notice issued on June 6, 2018, on a similar subject.

When he assumed office on September 13, President Ruto announced that he will return all port services to Mombasa from Naivasha.

"I will be issuing instructions and other attendant operational issues to revert to the port of Mombasa. This will restore thousands of jobs in the city of Mombasa," Ruto had pledged.

Yesterday, the shipping lines in Mombasa which are represented by the Kenya Ships Agents Association (KSSA) confirmed to have received and circulated the KPA notice to load ports across the world on the nomination of cargo by importers.

KSSA Chief Executive Officer Juma Tellah, however, explained that it will take between three weeks to one month for full implementation since some of the load ports are far and importers have to be informed about the changes.

"We have received and escalated the KPA notice to the load ports. But it will take three weeks to one month for ports which are far, like in China, to be fully implemented," he said.

Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (Kifwa) National Chairman Roy Mwanthi said the president's directive was now being implemented and commended Ruto for the move to restore the Coast economy.

"The notice by KPA has given clarity on the nomination of cargo and things are now moving towards the right direction," Mwanthi said.

Mombasa Governor Abdulswamad Nassir said there was progress on the president's directive but called on KPA to eliminate bureaucracy at the port. "There needs to be a concerted effort by Kenya Ports Authority to limit excess bureaucracy that is hampering business people from working," he said.

Robert Mulela, a representative of a truck firm, Simba Logistics, yesterday said they were hoping to feel the full impact of the directive in the next two to three months.

CFS Association, a lobby bringing together 22 groups, expressed optimism that their facilities will soon roar to business and they will hire back the 5,000 workers who lost their jobs when the government ordered that cargo be hauled to Nairobi and Naivasha by SGR.

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