Kenya: Keeping the Promise - President Ruto to Revert Port Operations to Mombasa

13 September 2022

Nairobi — President William Ruto has assured coastal residents that he will revert port operations back to Mombasa in line with his campaign promise.

Port operations were moved to Naivasha by immediate former president Uhuru Kenyatta who handed over power to Ruto on Tuesday, after serving for 10 years.

"This (Tuesday) afternoon I will be issuing instructions for clearing of goods and other attendant operation issues to revert to the port of Mombasa as I made a commitment to Kenyans," he said.

The new president said the move will restore thousands of jobs to the people of Mombasa County,.

During the campaign period, the Head of State asserted that the transfer of port operations to Naivasha was against the agreement made during the construction of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

Ruto said the Naivasha dry port was put up to benefit a few individuals, in what dealt a blow to the Mombasa economy.

When Kenyatta moved the operations to Naivasha, leaders and local politicians from the coast accused the Jubilee government of neglecting the economic needs of Mombasa residents.

They said it was irresponsible for the Government to relocate the port of Mombasa to Naivasha rendering locals jobless.

In December 2019, President Kenyatta flagged off a cargo train from Nairobi to Naivasha marking the start of operations at the Naivasha inland container depot.

In March 2019, the Kenya Ports Authority issued a directive that all cargo destined for Nairobi would have to be ferried on the SGR.

There were protests in Mombasa by shippers and transporters fearing loss of livelihoods. Coast politicians say that the Container freight station economies were affected. Initially, CFSs would handle up to 85 percent of the cargo docking at Mombasa, it is now down to about 20 percent.

Some CFSs had to relocate some of their operations to remain in business. Truckers and transporters had their livelihoods affected especially with the reduced distance to cover if they have to shift to pick up cargo from Nairobi.

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