Nairobi now bears cargo pileup woes
The linking of the Nairobi inland port to the Standard Gauge Railway has decongested Mombasa port (pictured) by moving almost ten times the number of containers on daily basis.
This dramatic shift, however, has come at a price to Nairobi. It is now the home to congestion that has choked businesses as a result of clearance delays following the realignment of the cargo operations.
Cargo dispatched to the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Nairobi’s Embakasi area has to undergo further clearance which is working against reduced dispatch time to transit destinations.
The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) indicated there were 10,000 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) containers at ICD in Nairobi, forcing it to hire five periphery storage facilities to handle the extra cargo.
According to Northern Corridor Transit Transport Coordination Authority, 905 20-foot equivalent units (TEUs) left the port of Mombasa in September compared to 108 in January 2018.
“The volume of cargo handled at the Nairobi inland container terminal has increased to 26,391 TEUs in September 2018. This is a major step towards decongestion of the port’s container terminals,” the monitoring team said.
Cargo hauled by railway had a shorter dwell time of 2.6 days at the port in September compared to 5.7 days for cargo evacuated by road.
Gross movement per hour has doubled for Mombasa port that serves more than 30 shipping lines which connect to over 80 seaports worldwide.
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While Mombasa is becoming efficient, Nairobi is choking with congestion that attracts additional storage and detention charges according to Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association.
KPA has hiked storage charges for cargo staying at ICD for over four days. For instance, cargo that is uncollected for six days attracts a charge of Sh4,000 for a 20-foot container and Sh8,000 for a 40-foot container.
In Mombasa, ship turnaround time has also improved from 102 hours in 2015 to 70 hours in 2018 in the quarter under review against the set target of 72 hours.
This has been attributed to the construction of berth 19, second container terminal and an offshore single buoy mooring. The ship’s waiting time recorded a low of 12.9 hours in July and September and high of 17.1 hours in August 2018.
These improvements come even as the State imposed a 20 per cent demurrage charges on foreign ships to keep the port competitive. However, some of the indicators that did not meet the set target include; time taken for document processing centre and one stop clearance time.
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There was an increase in time taken to process documents from 1.8 hours to 2.3 hours and further increase to 3.1 hours in July, August and September 2018 respectively.
Kenya Revenue Authority’s new system is expected to reduce clearance time via pre-arrival clearance of cargo.