NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 4 – A Senate Committee has directed the Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia to ensure that the revocation of a directive that all the cargo from Mombasa should be transported using the Standard Gauge Railway is implemented.
The Transport Committee chaired by Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi said all importers should be allowed to have a choice on which mode of transport to use in moving their cargo from the port.
“The essence why the earlier directive was lifted was to allow importers to transport their cargo in whatever means they want. So, the notice given by Kenya Ports Authority is acting in contravention of what you CS said earlier,” Wamatangi said.
Macharia stated that SGR has only been ferrying 3.5 million tons of cargo out of 29.5 million tons received at the port of Mombasa per year
“SGR has only been ferrying 15 percent which translates into 3.5 million tons per year and am made to understand the balance of 25.5 million tons of cargo is transported by road,” Macharia said.
“I know you want to take us back to use of container freight stations services, but this will not happen under my watch.”
His comments were not received well by Members of Parliament drawn from the coast region led by Senator Mohamed Faki of Mombasa who accused Macharia of misleading Kenyans that road transport network has been thriving since the Standard Gauge Railway was commissioned.
‘As MPS we wouldn’t have been here if businesses were thriving in Mombasa, locals have been denied discretion of transporting their cargo by any mode of transport following your stringent policies,” Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir said.
His sentiments were echoed by Faki who insisted that something needs to be done in his ministry to ensure smooth flow of business from Mombasa to Nairobi and vice versa.
“We are not fighting you (CS) but someone in your docket must be giving false information about what SGR has been carrying, you need to have factual information,” Faki advised.
Wamatangi ordered the Kenya Ports Authority Managing director Daniel Manduku, Kenya Revenue Authority’s representative Kelvin Safari to furnish the Committee with the data of all cargo received at the ports of Mombasa since the order was lifted and they were transported to Nairobi deport.