The Nairobi Inland Container Depot (ICD) is struggling to cope with a surge in the amount of cargo being moved from Mombasa to Nairobi using the new Standard Gauge Railway cargo service.
Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) said Friday, it had now been compelled to look for additional storage space to complement the Embakasi-based depot.
Acting KPA Managing Director Daniel Manduku said they had leased four warehouses within the ICD’s vicinity to store some of the cargo to reduce congestion.
“We are getting more business than we had anticipated. We have gone ahead to lease four more warehouses around here (Embakasi) so that we have adequate space and handle congestion,” he said in an interview.
Until now, KPA had through the years struggled to attract importers to use the facility and even offered generous incentives to cargo owners, including free storage space for up to two weeks.
Other than incurring additional costs to lease storage space, KPA is also scaling down on incentives and now importers can only store their cargo at the depot for four days, with more time at the depot attracting charges.
Mr Manduku said the SGR cargo service currently delivers 800 containers a day from Mombasa.
The upsurge in volumes has been mainly driven by uncollected cargo by government agencies as well as customers who have not been picking up their cargo in good time.
KPA previously offered importers using the Embakasi facility seven days of free storage. This was a reduction from an earlier 11 days or more, which was a way of enticing businesses to use the depot at a time when the metre gauge railway that serviced Mombasa and Nairobi was highly underutilised.