The Star (Nairobi)

23 August 2014

Kenya Scores Poorly in EAC Cargo Survey

KENYA ranks poorly among East African countries in terms of cargo handling and movement from the Mombasa port, a new survey shows.

The survey ranks Kenya fourth out of five countries in the region in terms of efficiency in cargo clearance and movement. Rwanda comes first followed by Uganda and Tanzania, while Burundi is fifth.

The findings were released at the launch of the third edition of the logistics survey by the Shippers Council of East Africa.

SCEA economist Humphrey Kisembe said Kenya's poor ranking arose from the belief by other countries that it can do better in easing movement of cargo.

To improve Kenya's performance in the future, players in the logistics industry appealed to the government to promote small and medium enterprises that deal in the logistics business in order to bring down the cost of services. This, they said, can be through subsidising products whose prices are otherwise too high.

"We are also calling for an improvement of service delivery by state agents. The amount of time spent by shippers to get their cargo inspected and cleared is way below international standards," said the group.

During the launch, the government instructed the Kenya Maritime Authority to ensure shipping lines deal fairly with Kenya and the East Africa region.

The principal secretary in the ministry of transport Nduva Muli said the companies levy high charges compared to other parts of the the world and should offer competitive rates similar to those in other major ports.

"Shipping lines should know that their honeymoon is over. Some of them charge 70 dollars (Sh6,180) to clean containers and yet they go to clean these containers in Europe. Is it only in Kenya that containers need to be cleaned?" he questioned.

He warned heavy commercial vehicle drivers against servicing their fleets by the road side, where there are no proper parking premises saying they will be arrested and charged.

"Fleet owners must invest in parking areas where their drivers are well taken care of, and their cargo can be monitored, within an area that is secure, and does not compromise on road quality," he said.

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