TV, social media orders not enough - Ruto told as new directive delays

Ruto was cautioned that his directive could face delays from individuals who benefited from the current state of affairs

President Willliam Ruto raises the ceremonial sword after handover by former President Uhuru Kenyatta

The Kenya Transport Association has appealed to President William Ruto on challenges facing the enactment of his directive on the return of some port operations to Mombasa.

The Association welcomed President Ruto’s directive that seeks to revert clearance of all goods and other operations from Nairobi and Naivasha Inland Container depots to Mombasa.

We wish to thank you profusely for your remarks in your inauguration speech where you confirmed to the whole nation and the Coastal town of Mombasa in particular, that you will forthwith issue a directive for importers to have the choice to clear their goods in Mombasa and revert other port related operations to Mombasa,” the statement read.

However, the truckers warned that the directive could face delays if the president doesn’t commit to its implementation.

They urged the head of state to do more than give directives in the media because they would likely be ignored by the Kenya Ports Authority.

The Association’s chair, Newton Wang’oo, also cautioned that the directive could face delays from individuals who benefit from the current state of affairs.

To operationalise this directive, Kenya Ports Authority needs to vacate and reverse the illegal and unconstitutional order that they gave to the shipping lines in 2018 directing the shipping lines not to allow importers to nominate where they want their consignments cleared.

This is to forestall the expected delay in the execution of the executive order on grounds that KPA has not received official communication in writing and cannot act on social media and TV reports,” he said.

Currently, all upcountry importers are required to use the SGR to ferry cargo, which some have said is expensive and inefficient.

The directives issued by former President Kenyatta’s government also denied importers the freedom to choose the locations they intended to clear their luggage, forcing many to use the Nairobi and Naivasha Inland Container Depots.

In 2020, the High Court suspended the directive for 180 days to give the government room to negotiate with stakeholders. The ruling was appealed, dragging the court battle for years and is still yet to be concluded.

The Kenya Transport Association has severally clarified that truckers have not been asking for road transport to be favoured, but for importers to be allowed to choose between road and rail.

They argue that the competition between rail and road transport should be left to market forces to determine the better option.

Cargo accounted for the biggest chunk of the revenue generated by the SGR in the first quarter of 2022 at Sh3.08 billion. This represented 84% of the total revenue while passenger trains posted Sh569.27million in revenue.

According to KPA, Kenya entered an agreement in which the government guaranteed a minimum volume of freight and cargo that would be transported by rail to repay the SGR loan.

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