Government of Kenya has given Uganda 20 hectares of land to build an inland container port at Naivasha.
"The distance from Mombasa port to Nairobi is 700 kilometres and Nairobi to Naivasha is 120km, making it 820km from Naivasha to Mombasa, which is too long. So a port being at Naivasha will shorten the distance," Mr Kiema Kilonzo, the Kenyan High Commissioner to Uganda, said yesterday while addressing the media ahead of Kenya's Independence Day on Thursday next week.
He said the port will be managed solely by government of Uganda as Ugandan traders will not have to travel the long distance up to Mombasa but rather clear their containers at Naivasha.
He noted that building of the inland port will bring Mombasa port closer to Uganda as Kenya's standard gauge railway will be used to bring the containers from Mombasa port to Naivasha where they will be cleared from by Ugandan traders.
He said Uganda Revenue Authority will now have to move their Mombasa office to Naivasha to make it easy for traders to clear their containers in time.
The High Commissioner noted that Uganda is Kenya's biggest trading partner in East African Community.
When Daily Monitor contacted the Ministry of Works and Transport public relations officer, Ms Suzan Kataika, about the progress on the Naivasha port project, she promised to get back to us but did not and neither did she answer our repeated calls to her cellular line.
The ministry's Chief Engineer, Mr Samson Bagonza, could not be reached either.
The Minister of Trade, Ms Amelia Kyambadde, did not pick our repeated calls.
The assistant Commissioner for Regional and Bilateral Division external trade, Mr Richard Okot Okello, said he was out of the country.
Efforts to reach Uganda Revenue Authority were futile too.