The Shippers Council of Eastern Africa on Thursday challenged the government to address outstanding issues at the Naivasha Inland Container Depot or risk losing trade to Tanzania.
Council CEO Gilbert Langat told the Star on the phone that the implementation of directive to move transit cargo through SGR must be well thought.
“We need to develop the internal capacity first before pushing the whole issue to neighbouring countries that may get frustrated and go to Tanzania,” Langat said.
The council is a business membership organization that represents the interests of importers and exporters in Kenya and the Eastern Africa region.
It provides a platform to articulate their concerns and demands to service providers and government regulatory institutions.
On May 22, Transport CS James Macharia said all cargo to EAC countries will be transported through the SGR from Mombasa to Naivasha starting next week.
Macharia said that the new rules apply to cargo being moved to Uganda, Rwanda,South Sudan, DR Congo and parts of Tanzania.
On Tuesday, Kenya Revenue Authority announced that it has commenced movement of transit cargo from the Port of Mombasa to the newly established Naivasha Inland Container Depot.
KRA said the move will decongest the Port of Mombasa and improve efficiency.
“This means that owners of the affected cargo and their clearing agents will clear and pick their goods at the new facility,” KRA said adding that the list of cargo that has been moved from the port of Mombasa to the Naivasha ICD can be accessed on its website.
But even as the government moves in to implement the new directive, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan have raised reservation on the level of preparedness at the Naivasha based facility.
The three countries in a report prepared by a team of technical officers dated May 21 said the facility was not complete.
“The different options present advantages and disadvantages to different shippers hence the free market should remain open. If the new ICD presents benefits, shippers will inevitably use it,” a delegation of six from the three countries said in a report in our possession.