The Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) Suswa Station. The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has shifted some port services to Naivasha.

Owners of cargo and their clearing agents will from Tuesday collect their goods at the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Naivasha after the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) relocated its transit goods clearing operation to the Nakuru Sub- County.

In a statement, the taxman said the change is meant to decongest the Port of Mombasa and improve efficiency.

According to the authority, cargo owners will be furnished with a catalogue of goods moved from the Port of Mombasa to Naivasha through its website.

Further, the taxman says KRA’s office at the Naivasha ICD is now fully operational complete with a marshalling area with the capacity to hold 700 trucks on the bounce while the customs offices have been fully deployed with skilled staff.

“The facility is anticipated to boost storage of cargo mainly those destined for the EAC partner states: Uganda, South Sudan, Northern Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo,” said KRA in a statement.

“KRA is well equipped to handle the huge capacity expected from Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi at the new facility. The ICD will increase efficiency as KRA is able to monitor cargo in Naivasha through the Joint Monitoring Centre,” adds the statement.

“The facility has a One Stop Centre (OSC) model where all key government agencies offer their services to clients while regional authorities are also housed at the OSC,” the statement further read.

The SGR Question

As it stands, transporting cargo from the Port of Mombasa remains cheaper by road while the government has taken flak to its directive forcing people to move their cargo via the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR).

The SGR terminates in Duka Moja, a remote town on the Maai Mahiu- Narok Road some 20 kilometres away from Suswa where the railway terminates.

Conversely, the Naivasha ICD has remained starved off any activity failing to post the arrival of a single cargo train following its launch in December 2019.

It also does not make economic sense moving goods via SGR to the ICD in Naivasha only to move them via road to their different destinations.

Political Issue

Politicians from the Coastal region are unlikely to take the new development kindly as they have previously opposed any attempt to have Naivasha ease the burden on the Port of Mombasa.

At the height of his highly publicised grandstanding with President Uhuru Kenyatta before the handshake, Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho threatened to sue the government over the plan.

Joho was protesting a directive issued by the government requiring all cargo to be moved via the SGR despite protests by logistics companies and truck drivers.

“When I told you that the port services are being shifted, you made mockery out of it and you laughed at me. But you will not stop me from saying you are now implementing it, I am even contemplating going to court,” Joho told Mombasa residents in February 2018.

Joho, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Deputy Party Leader was backed by his Party Leader Raila Odinga and together they backed the government against the wall delaying plans to realise the plan.

Since the handshake, Joho has toned down his criticism of the government enough to attract the wrath of his own constituents.

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