NAIROBI– The Kenya Ports Authority’s Nairobi Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Embakasi on the outskirts of the capital city has received a total of 9,735 container units since January 2018, comprising 7,248 inbound containers, 1,151 export containers and 1,336 empty units.

Since the commissioning of the revamped Nairobi Inland Container Depot in December 2017, it now receives three trains carrying 324 units daily, up from 108 units in January 2017, a 300 per cent growth during the period under review.

According to Kenya Ports Authority (kPA) Managing Director, Catherine Mturi-Wairi, the numbers need to be scaled up significantly in order to enhance terminal operations fluidity at the Port of Mombasa which receives 3,000 container units per day.

We have instituted a number of measures to ensure that we support this critical investment, reduce road congestion and the cost of doing business. Some of the measures include reduction of handling charges, formation of a multi-agency operationalization committee, and establishment of a call centre at the ICD. The initiatives are supported by a 24/7 work schedule at ICD, improved infrastructure and ICT systems at Nairobi ICD, she noted.

There is no law that compels people to use the SGR (Standard Gauge RailwY) cargo service. It is purely on a willing-buyer, willing-seller basis. Our role is to provide a very competitive and efficient system that will draw business to use the service and together we can grow our economy.

Relying on a single mode of transport raises transport costs, retards economic growth and development due to high costs of doing business and makes the country’s export be less competitive at the global market place. Most of the cargo handled at the Port of Mombasa moves to the industrial area in Nairobi and to transit countries, which are over 500 kilometers away. It is uneconomical to move huge cargo volumes by road.

The development comes in the wake of a recent reduction of cargo handling charges by the Ports Authority.