Naivasha ICD set to stiffen competition for cargo destined for the bloc

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It was on the 17th of December last year when the Naivasha Inland Container Depot (ICD) swung open its doors.

Presided by Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, the depot commonly known as the Naivasha ICD was launched to enhance Kenya’s cargo handling capacity and significantly contribute to the sustainable development of our country’s and regional economies.

Currently, business is steadily picking up at the newly opened Naivasha Inland Container Depot with all the Government Agencies led by the Kenya Ports Authority already settled on the ground to offer services to ensure smooth cargo off-take.

The other agencies on the site include the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and Kenya Railways Corporation. Meanwhile regional Customs Authorities namely Uganda Revenue Authority, Rwanda Revenue Authority, Burundi Revenue Authority and South Sudan Revenue Authority are also present.

Also Read: EAC partner states adopt electronic cargo system

The facility has 5000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit (TEUs) capacity (ground slots) and has adequate equipment including Reach Stackers and Terminal Tractors.

Transit countries are now taking advantage of this new facility to collect their cargo at the depot. Shipping lines and freight forwarders are also taking a keen interest and strategizing how to position themselves at the ICD. For instance in May this year a delegation of envoys from the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Rwanda and Uganda visited the Naivasha ICD to assess the facility’s readiness and preparedness for business sustainability.

The 45,000 Sq. Meter facility which will improve the East African region’s business environment and is currently handling 2 trains a day with a capacity of 216 TEUs, with the number expected to rise to 5 trains a day once the depot starts operating at full capacity.

This move is expected to significantly reduce congestion on our roads.

Also Read: Tanzania edges closer to dominating East Africa’s transport with SGR

According to Mr. Paul Mwakisha, National Manager, Overland & Customs Brokerage, Kuenhe +Nagel the operations at the dry port are sealessly working to significantly improve cargo transit in the region.

“The ICD presents a great opportunity for better handling of transit cargo on Triple Bottom Line (TBL),” he said.

Kuenhe + Nagel, one of the largest cargo movers in the world are now looking for offices at the Depot to open a branch to serve their transit clients. They handle cargo for D. R Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan. They are also planning to do export for dry cargo through the depot where it will be consolidated and railed to Mombasa for shipping.

Other shipping lines and agents who have visited the facility recently are Express Shipping Limited, Bolore and SPEDAG.

Meanwhile, the Kenya Ports Authority is now making plans to create more facilities for smooth operations. Plans are also underway to construct a proper administration block that will house the one-stop center and provide office accommodation for cargo interveners, expand the yard to create more capacity and also construct a trucks holding yard.

The new facility’s major role is to facilitate direct shipment of goods from the Port of Mombasa to Naivasha via SGR thus shortening the distance to the transit markets.

Naivasha ICD also comes in handy to minimize transit trucks entering Nairobi which is most affected at the time the country is battling COVID-19.

Also Read: Tanzania bidding for SGR trains

All cargo destined for our East African member states of Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and South Sudan will be transported directly to this facility in ten hours from the Mombasa Port.

The Naivasha ICD also includes a one-stop centre for ease of operations and efficient service delivery. The port houses all the Government agencies involved in handling of cargo namely Kenya Railways, Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Bureau of Standards, Port Health (Public Health) and Revenue Authority officers from partner states of Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.  Truck drivers entering ICD Naivasha, just like at the Port of Mombasa are at the moment required to have Covid-19 free certificates in order to ensure that cargo is exited through the boarders efficiently while containing the spread of the disease in the region.

Cargo cargo transport industry in the EAC seems to operate in a relatively competitive environment, with cost savings being passed through in entirety to the clients of transport companies. This depot is expected to not only significantly bring down transportation costs within the region but it also bring in efficiency within the bloc.

Eventually consumers will end up spending less on final products.

Also Read: As SGR heads to Naivasha, Cargo to Nairobi still not off the ground

Yvonne Kawira is an award winning journalist with an interest in matters, regional trade, tourism, entrepreneurship and aviation. She has been practicing for six years and has a degree in mass communication from St Paul’s University.

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