Governor Nassir and Stakeholders Discuss Return of Port Services to Mombasa

MOMBASA, Kenya, September 20 – The Governor of Mombasa, Abdulswamad Nassir, held a meeting with port stakeholders on Monday to seek clarification on the status of the return of operations to Mombasa.

In his inauguration speech, President William Ruto issued a directive that all port operations should be returned to Mombasa.

Even so, customs clearance officers in the country said the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has yet to issue a public notice to inform importers and shipping agents that services have been returned to Mombasa.

In order to resolve the issue, Nassir held a closed meeting with port stakeholders including; the Clearing and Forwarding Association, the Kenya Transporters Association and the Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (KIFWA) in his office.

In a statement, Nassir said the meeting should assess the status of implementation of this directive.

“President William Ruto issued a presidential directive last week on the return of port services to Mombasa County. I hailed this decision as a positive step in the right direction towards reviving the region’s economy,” Nassir said.

“We are happy to see that there has been progress, but there needs to be a concerted effort by KPA to limit the excessive bureaucracy and red tape that keeps business people from working.”

Nassir said they would continue to consult regularly pending full implementation for the benefit of coastal populations.

He said thousands of people lost their jobs after the government made it compulsory to transport all goods to Nairobi and other hinterlands via the standard gauge railway.

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KIFWA National Chairman Roy Mwanthi said the KPA must issue a public notice to shipping lines and importers on the cargo naming debacle.

“KPA must come out publicly and announce through a notice that the previous directive has been rescinded as per the presidential directive,” Mwanthi said.

In March 2019, KPA issued a directive that all goods in transit will be cleared from Nairobi or Naivasha inland container depots. Cargo was to be transported via Standard Gauge Railway (SGR)

This prevented importers from deciding their clearance preference after KPA appointed Nairobi ICD.

The directive sparked protests from the carrier and customs clearance agents, but it was never rescinded, despite several street protests and lawsuits.

Nassir (then MP for Mvita) joined cargo handlers in organizing weekly protests and petitioning Parliament as they complained that Uhuru’s policy restricted road hauliers to use the railway, to half load while maintaining previous charges, which made it more expensive.

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