NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 17 – Two shipping lines have committed to ship cargo from Mombasa to the Naivasha dry depot, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced Tuesday when he launched freight service to the Naivasha Inland Container Depot.
Kenyatta said the dry port in Naivasha will be serving two freight trains a day with cargo destined for neighboring countries among them Uganda and Burundi.
The Sh6.9 billion service depot is expected to promote development in the East African countries including Burundi, Uganda and Rwanda.
“Cargo destined for our neighbors will be ferried from Mombasa to Naivasha faster and easier,” Kenyatta said.
In April, Kenya Railways Corporation said SGR freight service to Naivasha depot would be a sure way of securing transit business which has over the years evaded the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).
The Naivasha dry port is part of the northern corridor whose master plan aims to establish inland freight hubs to end congestion at Mombasa port.
It features an inland container depot, railway marshaling yard, logistic zone, and a public utility area.
It would also reduce the overall cost of handling goods at the seaport, which faces cutthroat competition from the Port of Dar es Salaam.
According to Trademark East Africa, the Mombasa port’s total annual freight handling is expected to exceed 50 million tonnes by 2030, doubling from 24 million tonnes in 2015.
Currently Uganda takes the lion share of KPA’s transit business, accounting for over 70 per cent.
Transporters have however protested the establishment of dry ports in the country saying they will kill transit business.
Since freight trains started ferrying all domestic cargo to the Nairobi Inland Container Depot, truckers have cried foul, saying their businesses faced collapse.
“All imported cargo for delivery to Nairobi and the hinterland shall be conveyed by Standard Gauge Railway and cleared at the Inland Container Depot – Nairobi,” Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and KPA said a joint directive which was later rescinded.