The economy of the Coast region could take another beating following the decision by Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) to stop cargo nominations to the container freight stations (CFSs).
Hundreds of CFS employees in Mombasa now stare at dismissals. Businesspeople and leaders say the more than 20 stations operating in the county would be forced to shut down.
In a last week communication seen by the Nation, KPA directed its management to stop cargo nominations to the stations.
“Team, please stop any further CFS nominations with immediate effect,” reads the email sent by the head of container operations Edward Opiyo to KPA managing director Daniel Manduku and other officials.
“Those already documented will be allowed to get out...by 0700hrs. Bring this to the attention of employees for compliance.” The email is dated August 14 and was sent at 9.21pm.
Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association chairman Roy Mwanthi said there is going to be confusion as the directive means all cargo would be cleared at the port.
“We are opposed to this decision as it is a clear way of killing the stations. This would mean that those working at the CFSs would be rendered jobless because the directive blocks goods from being taken to the existing CFSs,” Mr Mwanthi said told the Nation on Sunday.
He added that the decision “which is a major trade barrier”, will create confusion among businesses and cause congestion.
“It will create pressure on importers as people are only given four days to clear cargo at the port as opposed to the CFSs where one can have 21 to 30 days,” he said.
He faulted KPA for coming up with strategies that could cripple the economy. He argued that the port should remain a transit point, not a storage place.
“We urge the government to revoke the order. The shipping industry needs clear guidelines and not directives that cause confusion,” he said.