The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has extended free storage period to importers using the Naivasha Inland Container Depot (ICD) for their transit cargo to entice countries in the hinterland use the facility.
"We announce extension of free storage period in line with our continuous and deliberate efforts of cushioning customers on the effects of the Covid-19. The effects have impacted the whole transport logistics chain and the approved free storage period for implementation effective May 18, 2020," said KPA acting Managing Director Rashid Salim.
In the new tariffs, domestic export containers will enjoy a free storage period of 15 days compared with the earlier nine. Transit import containers at the port and ICD in Embakasi will enjoy 14 days free storage period from nine days and transit export containers will enjoy 20 days free storage from the current 15.
The changes however, did not extend to the domestic import cargo as requested by the freighters, which remains at four days.
East Africa clearing agents' umbrella body, Federation of East African Freight Forwarders Associations (FEAFFA), through its president, Fred Seka, welcomed the KPA changes but called on other regional governments and shipping lines to extend free storage periods.
"We welcome KPA's move which will now enable our members to carry out their business operations smoothly. However, we will continue to engage KPA to have a similar concession extended on domestic imports since they are too affected by Covid-19," said FEAFFA.
KPA recently introduced direct cargo freight from Mombasa to the Naivasha ICD by the standard gauge railway at $600 for 20 feet container, $850 for 40 feet container of up to 20 tonnes and $910 for the same container weighing above 21 tonnes.
Logistic firms such as Bollore Transport and Logistics and Kobo60 are already using the direct SGR service, which they describe as fast and efficient.
"Last week, we transported 64 twenty foot equivalent units for our clients destined to different countries. Upon arriving at Naivasha depot, our fleet of trucks and trailers from Uganda was ready waiting to offload export consignments from the train and take up cargo for last mile delivery to Kampala," said Bollore East Africa CEO Jason Reynard.