Cargo shippers want State to foot costs of delay on SGR
Published Sat, May 12th 2018 at 00:00, Updated May 11th 2018 at 18:58 GMT +3
Cargo operators are asking the Government to absorb the cost of delays on the standard gauge railway (SGR) cargo service launched at the beginning of this year.
Through the Shippers Council of Eastern Africa (SCEA), the operators claim inefficiencies in operations between the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and Kenya Railways Corporation is costing them millions of shillings in demurrage fees.
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“KPA and Kenya Railways must take responsibility for delays occasioned by the implementation of the SGR directive and direct shipping lines to waive any resultant demurrage incurred by shippers through penalties being imposed by the shipping lines,” said Agayo Ogambi, head of advocacy at SCEA.
The council further says Kenya Railways is yet to upgrade operations to absorb a big bump in cargo traffic due to the Government’s directive compelling cargo operators to use the SGR.
“The Ministry of Transport through its regulatory agency Kenya Maritime Authority has the powers to direct the same and this is in line with their role in supporting the utilisation of the SGR,” Mr Ogambi said.
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This comes even as the Transport ministry extended the grace period during which cargo operators pay a flat fee of Sh35,000 for a 20-foot container and Sh40,000 for a 40-foot container from Mombasa to the Inland Container Depot in Nairobi.
Ogambi, however, says that while shippers welcome the three-month extension of the SGR promotional rates, the inefficiencies bedeviling the cargo services have blunted the incentives.
He urged the Government to introduce 24-hour working shifts for cargo delivery, deployment of more personnel and equipment by KPA to mitigate delays and cases of theft.