Relief for coast traders as SGR cargo directive lifted

Thursday October 03 2019

Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho (left) and Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang'i express their satisfaction with the outcome of a meeting concerning the movement of cargo from Mombasa to Nairobi via the standard gauge railway, at Harambee House on October 3, 2019. PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Coast’s dwindling economy is set to rebound after the government on Thursday revoked the directive to haul cargo direct from Mombasa to Nairobi using the standard gauge railway (SGR).

At the same time, nomination of cargo is resuming in Mombasa.

This comes after the Mombasa business community threatened to block the SGR next week in a planned protest and snub the Mashujaa Day fete that is set for Mama Ngina Park had the government ignored their demands.

Thursday’s meeting that was chaired by Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i, his Transport counterpart James Macharia and attended by different port stakeholders was a big relief to thousands of people who have lost their businesses, while others were rendered jobless by the directive that lacked legal basis.

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Managing Director Daniel Manduku, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Commissioner, Customs and Border Control Kevin Safari, Kenya Railways management, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho, Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (Kifwa), Container Freight Owners management, Kenya Transporters members, among others, attended the meeting.



Sources at the meeting said the resolution was reached after stakeholders presented the recent study by the University of Nairobi (UoN) indicating that the economic state of Mombasa is at ‘economic decay point’ since the government ordered all cargo be hauled using railway freight direct from Port of Mombasa to Nairobi Inland Container Depot in Nairobi in June this year.

“We agreed anyone can transport cargo using any mode of transport from Mombasa port to Nairobi. The meeting also resolved that nomination of cargo can be done in Mombasa depending on the wish of the importer,” Mr Roy Mwanthi, the Kifwa chairman said.

The KPA will do nomination of all undocumented cargo based on vessel rotation, volumes and individual CFS capacity where clients should be informed regarding their cargo on time.

Previously, shipping lines handling Mombasa-bound cargo were nominated by clearing agents on clients’ behalf.


In the past two weeks, the business community has used the UoN study to back their protests against the government move to deny transporters and CFSs business, effectively crippling trade in Mombasa.

Coast Senator Mohammed Faki, MPs Mohamed Ali (Nyali), Omari Mwinyi (Changamwe), Ali Mbogo (Kisauni) and Abdulswamad Shariff Nassir (Mvita), who opposed the SGR directive, attended the talks.

Mr Joho expressed satisfaction with the intergovernmental committee talks.

They had identified areas needing to be fixed and instituted measures to ensure residents benefit, he said.