NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 24 – Small scale traders have been urged to maximise the use of the Kenya Railways Boma Line (National Deconsolidation Centre) so as to spur economic growth in the country.
Kenya Railways Managing Director Philip Mainga, who spoke during a tour of the facility, noted that the facility which was launched in February 2020 by President Uhuru Kenyatta is handling approximately six containers per day and that since its establishment no trader had lost cargo in transit.
The shed is used for de-consolidating cargo from small-scale traders significantly reducing the cost of doing business and turnaround time for cargo to hit shelves.
“Railways are meant to spur economic growth of a country and we are engaging with all stakeholders to ensure that small scale traders have an easy time while clearing their goods. We are upgrading the existing rail infrastructure countrywide to meet the demands of customers,” he said.
It takes about 18 hours for goods to be transported from the port of Mombasa to the Kenya Railways shed where the goods are immediately cleared and released to their owners
National Assembly Finance, and planning committee chair Gladys Wanga, noted that the facility was a game-changer in support of SME’s in the country.
“What people need is an environment where they can do business in the easiest way possible. If containers get to the ICD (Inland Container Depot) and the goods are de-consolidated here, we have seen times and costs reduced. We are impressed and really thank the President for this strategic and game-changing investment,” she said.
Kenya Revenue Authority Deputy Commissioner of Customs, Joseph Kaguru assured traders of swift clearance and said that the agency was on the lookout for any unscrupulous individuals and counterfeit goods.
“We expect massive growth. We expect to clear 500 containers per month very soon and that was what we cleared before the Covid-19 pandemic. Once the economy fully re-opens we anticipate to have more traders,” he noted.
The Boma facility serves small traders operating within Nairobi Central Business District (CBD), Nyamakima, Gikomba and Kamukunji markets and has a capacity of clearing 30 containers per day.
Traders pick goods which can be a single carton by use of carts, motorbikes, pickups, trucks or even carrying them by hand.