NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 15 – President Uhuru Kenyatta today launched an ultra-modern inland container depot (ICD) upgraded at a cost of Sh22 billion and offered 50 percent discount to exporters who will use the facility.
President Kenyatta also directed the Transport and Infrastructure Ministry to ensure that the 22 agencies, which are members of the Mombasa Port Charter, meet their obligations in addressing all the logistical hurdles to satisfy the needs of the private sector.
The 22 agencies include Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Railways Corporation, Kenya National Highways Authority, Kenya Pipeline Company Limited, Kenya Trade Network Agency, Kenya Maritime Authority, Kenya National Police Service and the Kenya Bureau of Standards among others.
“To support our exporters, both local and regional, we will offer 50 percent discount for transporting goods from the Nairobi Inland Container Depot and the Port of Mombasa,” President Kenyatta said.
President Kenyatta spoke on Saturday during the launch of the upgraded depot at Embakasi in Nairobi.
He said the second phase of the SGR will be linked to the depot, connecting Nairobi with the East African region via rail, boosting efforts to improve the movement and management of cargo across the country and into the region.
“The high speed, high capacity and efficient Standard Gauge Railway network will serve as an important link between the Port of Mombasa and the Inland Container Depot,” the President said.
To Kenyans, President Kenyatta said the cargo moving up and down the line to and from the port for export will present opportunities for employment and wealth creation across the various counties.
“We have spoken, often, of the transformation that high-quality public infrastructure investment can bring in the lives of our people. It grows our economy; it generates jobs; and it builds skills which our young men and women need to prosper. The container depot we are launching today is one such investment,” the President said.
The President pointed out that the requisite last mile connectivity and connection to major road arteries will also be well-coordinated for fast evacuation and delivery of cargo into and out of the depot.
With the upgraded inland container depot and the SGR, President Kenyatta expressed confidence that there will be a seamless clearance, evacuation and movement of cargo that will enhance operations of the shippers, freight forwarders and other transport players in the sector.
The Head of State emphasized that all the investment made in transport, in logistics and in infrastructure is geared towards growing the economy and creating rewarding jobs for Kenyans, saying transport and infrastructure are vital for every item of the big four pillars of his second term agenda.
President Kenyatta’s big four pillars of development priorities are: improving the quality of life through the provision of universal health care, increasing access to affordable housing and ensuring food and nutritional security. They also include enhancing job creation and opportunities for young people by focusing on the expansion of the manufacturing sector.
From a regional perspective, President Kenyatta said the SGR freight train will reduce the cost of doing business across the East African region.
“For instance, it currently costs $1,200 to ship a 20-tonne container from Japan to the Port of Mombasa. Yet it costs $2,500 to move a similar container to Kampala and as much as $4,500 to Kigali. With the SGR we can expect to cut costs significantly,” President Kenyatta said.
He thanked the Government of the People’s Republic of China for supporting the inland container depot project and other transformative projects.
Other speakers included Transport and Infrastructure CS James Macharia and Kenya Ports Authority Chairman Marsden Madoka.