KPA hosts Ugandan business leaders at Sh6.9 billion dry port facility

Naivasha Inland Container Depot will facilitate the movement of transit goods to Uganda, says Kenya Ports Authority(KPA), urging Uganda, which is landlocked, to make full use of the facility.

KPA managing director, Daniel Manduku said the depot will greatly reduce the distance it take to move cargo to Uganda by road.

He spoke when he hosted a delegation of 35 government and private sector officials from Uganda, who are in the country to tour port facilities.

During a tour of the Nairobi Inland Container Depot yesterday, Manduku urged the Uganda government and business community  to focus their efforts towards using Naivasha ICD, which is only 500 kilometers from Kampala.

The Sh6.9 billion dry port facility commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta on December 17 last year, to be served by the Standard Gauge Railway, cuts the distance between Mombasa and Kampala by 46 per cent.

Traditionally, Ugandan imports and exports travel a distance of 1,144 kilometres between Mombasa and Kampala along the Northern Corridor. SGR reduces the distance by about 527 kilometres.

“A team comprising KPA and the business community will be formed immediately to streamline all operational issues relating to using Naivasha ICD,” Manduku said.

He assured the business community that Uganda still has land in Naivasha and those interested in investing in the value addition sector are welcome.

The delegation led by the Uganda Consul General Mombasa, Ambassador Katureebe Tayebwa, has been in the country since Sunday. It visited the port of Mombasa and traveled by train from Mombasa to Naivasha ICD.

The visiting party includes officials from Uganda’s Ministry of Works, Ministry of Investments Kampala City Traders Association, Regional Lorry Drivers and Transport Association and Mukwano Group.

Others are Uganda Investment Authority, Maersk( Uganda) , real estate firms and Ugandan manufacturers.

The purpose is to gauge the developments Kenya has put in place to improve service delivery through the Northern Corridor,” KPA told the Star yesterday.

“The trip has been informative, engaging, and an eye opener. It has been the best platform for solutions in the logistics industry in the region,” said Paul Munyoro, import manager-Roofings Rolling Mills Uganda.

Maersk Uganda external sales executive Benedict Lule said: “The improvements through SGR are the best efforts towards easing trade and enhancing efficiency in the whole of the logistic chain.”

Uganda is the biggest user of the Port of Mombasa among regional states, accounting for about 82 per cent of transit cargo to the hinterland through the Port of Mombasa.

Annual total transit traffic to the land-locked country stands at above 7.89 million tonnes, making it predominant transit destination through the Port of Mombasa.

Both Uganda and South Sudan have been given parcels of land by the government withing the proximity of the Naivasha ICD. The parcels are ideal for cargo marshalling and other logistical investment.

The government is keen to use the Naivasha dry port to ease cargo movement to Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan and parts of DRC and Burundi, key destinations for transit cargo through Mombasa.

The SGR remains a big player in cargo evacuation from Mombasa, currently doing an average nine trains per day with 44 wagons each.