Press Center | Freight Shipping Logistics News
Dec 22, 2014
Official data indicates that most of the 1,400 tonnes of goods that still pass through Kisumu port are from Uganda and Tanzania after Kenyan traders cut their usage of the facility to only 30 per cent of throughput.
Kenyan firms seeking faster means of hauling manufactured goods to Tanzania and Uganda are ditching Kisumu port terminal for roads as highway barriers reduce. Kisumu port manager Mwalimu Disi said a number of Kenyan traders have abandoned the facility despite improved delivery systems and high-capacity dry terminal containers. Official data indicates that most of the 1,400 tonnes of goods that still pass through Kisumu port are from Uganda and Tanzania after Kenyan traders cut their usage of the facility to only 30 per cent of throughput. “Kisumu is best placed for traders plying Lake Victoria, but there is very little to show for its worth as not much business flows through the place,” said Mr Disi. Under reforms that began late last year, the number of road blocks and weighbridges on the Mombasa-Malaba highway have dropped to two, easing cargo movement by roads. A trip from Mombasa to Kampala which took 10 to 20 days last year today takes only five days including clearance time. Mr Disi said the port can store more than 50,000 tonnes of cargo in its seven warehouses at Sh1,000 per day per warehouse. The port also has two slipways and a dry dock for ship building which are rarely in use as traders opt to take large volumes of cargo by road. There are also charges levied to transporters who pay per lengths of the track with the least unit going for Sh300 per day. Among the items that get through Kenya include edible oils, confectionaries, bar soaps, mining equipment, stationery, fertilisers, steel bars, iron sheets, plastic products alongside sandals. These are manufactured in Kisumu or hauled from Nairobi by road before being shipped to the destinations along the Lake Victoria basin. “Of these products, Tanzania accounts for more than 70 per cent of the trade volumes; Kenya and Uganda share 30 per cent of the business in varied percentages,” Mr Disi said. The port also receives additives for soft drink manufacturers, cotton lint, cotton seed cake, maize, sugar and coal. “Our services rely on human labour with merchants moving goods of more than 300 kilogrammes per unit. We have been advised to hire cranes for offloading or loading the merchandise,” he said. Kenya Railways only charges for use of the warehouses since it does not have the cargo handling facilities. “Most of the ships that come here are chartered; Kenyan investors have only put three ships that operate between Uganda and Tanzania,” Mr Disi said in an interview with Business Daily. READ: Kisumu shakes off the dust for industrial revival He noted that the potential of the port will only be unlocked if the government revitalises the use of liners to move goods for small business units that may not need a ship. “We need to put a situation where small cargo ranging 10-20 tonnes can be loaded in a common liner and shipping scheduled at the convenience of the movers,” he said. Tricon International, a freight company operating at the port, says the port’s appeal has been worsened by poor implementation of the single window system introduced by Kenya Trade Network Agency (Kentrade). Share This Story Edward Odero, the operation manager at Tricon International, says the single window regime has turned to be slower than the manual system, forcing many traders to shun the Kenyan ports of entry. “We have lost more than 40 per cent of dealerships with Tanzanians who are impatient with the management system,” said Mr Odero. Mr Odero, who also operates two barges between Kisumu, Mwanza, Port Bell and Kalangala-Uganda, said that the port can only realise its potential if the present bottlenecks are eliminated. He is also advocating for a policy to limit the carrying capacity of road users to less than 20 tonnes in order to save to reduce maintenance cost.