Billions of shillings are at risk of being idle as orders to evacuate transit cargo from the port of Mombasa to Naivasha is set to take place this week. The shifting also includes moving of clearing operations from the port of Mombasa to Naivasha Inland Container Depot (ICD).
Players at the port from both Kenya and Uganda have opposed the directive, which took effect on Tuesday, pointing out that the move will result in massive job and investment losses. Uganda, which has more than a quarter of business at the port of Mombasa, has appealed to the Kenyan government to make the shifting from Mombasa to Naivasha optional.
“The use of Naivasha ICD for transit cargo would not reduce human traffic movement…Therefore, it is our considered opinion that the use of Naivasha ICD, which is part of our long term regional infrastructure development should remain optional. If the government of Kenya makes it more attractive, big industry players/shippers like Bollare, Mukwano Group of Companies, and others can be encouraged to start using this facility because of economies of scale,” Mr Wamala said in a statement addressed to James Macharia, the Kenyan Transport Cabinet Secretary.
According to Dennis Ombok, the Kenya Transporters Association Chief executive officer, the shifting will affect truck drivers and hundreds of workers in clearing and forwarding sectors. However, enterprises such as fuelling stations and marshaling yards will likely lose their jobs.