Operations at the Naivasha dry port ongoing

Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Mai Mahiu Naivasha. [ Antony Gitonga, Standard]

Two weeks after President William Ruto ordered that clearing and forwarding services revert to the Port of Mombasa, the Naivasha Dry Port is still operational.

However, the transportation and collection of cargo have dropped sharply with traders going for road transport which is cheaper compared to SGR.

This comes as stakeholders said that they would petition the President through Nakuru Governor to intervene over the move.

During his swearing-in ceremony, Ruto directed that clearing and forwarding services that had been transferred to Naivasha from Mombasa be returned back with immediate effect.

According to a senior officer in the Naivasha facility, it was business as usual as they had not received a formal directive from the government.

The officer who is not authorized to speak to the press however noted that there was a slight drop in the number of containers arriving in the ICD.

“Most of the cargo arriving in the ICD through the SGR is meant for Uganda as we wait for the next directive from the Government,” said the officer.

But in a notice to shipping agents, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) acting MD John Mwangemi said that they were committed to implementing the Presidential directive.

He further noted that the new directive superseded the previous one of June 2018 that did not allow shipping agents to nominate their preferred cargo destination.

“This is to notify shipping lines that importers' documentation on the place of clearance and mode of transport shall be at the choice,” he said in the notice.

Speaking earlier, Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika said that she had consulted the President who promised financial support in the special economic zone.

She added that not all services had been withdrawn from the Dry Port, adding that transporters open to collect and ferry their goods.

“Some services are still being rendered at the Dry Port and the planned special economic zone will spur growth and create job opportunities,” she said.

On their part, the Kenya Transporters Association lauded the move by Ruto while calling on Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) to urgently implement the directive. 

The association chairman Newton Wang’oo in a statement said that they were looking forward to the full and immediate implementation of the directive.

“KPA should reverse the illegal and unconstitutional order issued in 2018 that did not allow shippers and traders to nominate their preferred cargo destination,” he said.

The CEO Naivasha Professional Association (NPA) Absolom Mukhuusi noted that the move to transfer the services spelt doom for tens of investors keen on the industrial park.

He said that the association and traders were seeking a meeting with Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika in the coming week to raise their concerns.

“We shall hand over a petition to the Governor to pass it to the President as we feel the move to relocate clearing and forwarding services to Mombasa will kill business in Mai Mahiu,” he said.

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