Kenya woos Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan to Mombasa port

Monday February 19 2024

Containers at the port of Mombasa, Kenya. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG


Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan have supported Kenya’s move to offer end-to-end logistics services, even as clearing and forwarding agents protested the move that potentially locks them out of business.

In the latest efforts to make Northern Corridor more efficient and serve landlocked countries to compete with Dar es Salaam port, officials of the three countries met with their Kenyan counterparts and agreed on a number of issues to make them use Naivasha inland container deport.

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) had opposed the idea, but it has been given mandate to offer end-to-end logistics services after government completed procurement of more than 250 railway wagons and entered into an agreement with some transporters to offer last mile services through a tender advertised sometime last year.

Read: Kenya buys 300 SGR wagons

But clearing and forwarding agents say this is a return to compulsory railage of over 11.5 metric tonnes cargo destined for regional countries.

The matter was a subject of court cases between the agents and past government.


But Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Coordination Authority (NCTTCA) executive secretary Omae Nyarandi said the policy, if implemented correctly, will serve regional countries better and reduce the transportation distance by more than 1200 kilometres. But he also admitted that there are a number of issues to be addressed first.

“In the past, it failed because last mile issues were not addressed but, with some transporters having been picked to do that, it will be attract more landlocked countries. But the issue of how KPA will enter the cargo in a single window system.

“We know it’s a tricky move, and a number of stakeholders have been aggrieved, but we must look at the end results.”

Read: Mombasa, Dar cargo volumes keep rising with rivalry

Shippers Council of Eastern Africa (SCEA) head of policy and advocacy Agayo Ogambi said transit business has great potential since the total transit traffic improved to 11.395 million tonnes in 2023, posting a 1.16 million tonnes growth, from 10.234 million tonnes recorded in 2022.

The growth was supported by increased cargo to South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo by 639,177 tonnes, or 50.6 percent, and 548,091 tonnes, or 56.9 percent, so KPA is in a good position to consolidate the transit business.

“In principle, KPA may introduce the services as long as the owners are in agreement, the Naivasha ICD facilities are improved and related service providers are at Naivasha ICDN. If the transportation is by road or rail, the services must be reliable, efficient and competitive. It is not lost the ICDN are meant to bring the Port closer to the Customers,” said Mr Ogambi.