Kenya promises Uganda better cargo transport deal
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Kenya promises Uganda better cargo transport deal

Posted PATRICK LANG’AT in Nairobi

on  Tuesday, December 19   2017 at  19:02

Kenya Tuesday sold the reduced cost of clearing and moving goods from the Mombasa Port to Uganda, and its ambitious Standard Gauge Railway (SGR), to revive its bid to extend the line to Uganda.

Uncertainty had hit the Kenya-Uganda SGR project after Uganda said it was considering building a railway through Tanzania.

In a bilateral meeting between President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni at State House, Nairobi, Kenya sold its reduced cost of clearing goods at the Mombasa port, the SGR, and its upcoming cargo freight as the answers to its neighbour’s transport needs.

Container terminal

It is estimated that more than 50 per cent of the cargo handled at the Port of Mombasa is destined for markets like Uganda, with 11.2 million tonnes of cargo moved between the two nations annually.

President Kenyatta said the completion of the second container terminal increased the port’s overall capacity to 1.65 million containers, with its capacity expected to hit 2.7 million containers per year once the three-stage project is complete.

“The modernisation programme has resulted in reduced average time to import and export goods through the port of Mombasa - from 11 days to under 3.5 days, and work for even greater efficiency continues,” State House said in a statement.

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And with the commissioning of the Inland Container Depot at Embakasi, President Kenyatta told his Ugandan counterpart, more goods will be transported by train.

“This will further shorten the time of moving goods from Mombasa to Kenya’s hinterland and neighbouring countries as well as the costs for doing so by a further 30 per cent,” the statement added.

President Museveni told President Kenyatta that “Uganda was ready and committed to the SGR project, and would work with Kenya to achieve its commitment.”

Working jointly

President Museveni had in July approved the borrowing of $2.9 billion for the construction of the railway from the Malaba border with Kenya to its capital Kampala, giving the clearest signal yet that the regional infrastructure project was back on track.

“Both Presidents agreed on working jointly on taking the SGR line from Naivasha to Kisumu and onwards to Malaba on the border with Uganda,” a statement from State House said after the joint meeting.

The line to Kisumu, the statement added, will also serve Uganda through the Lake Victoria ports of Jinja, Masaka and Entebbe.

Phase Two of the SGR, Kenya’s most ambitious infrastructure project since independence- a line to extend to Naivasha in the Rift Valley- is on course, and is expected to be completed in 2019.