The President of Kenya has announced that the new dry port of Naivasha in Kenya will receive all cargo coming from landlocked neighbours’ countries: Uganda, South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda and the DRC. The cargo is supposed to transit using the standard gauge railway (SGR), a restored cargo railway from the city of Naivasha, the location of the dry port to the port of Mombasa for further exports. This decision has caused a claim from Uganda’s President, as the trucks will not be able to drive directly to the port of Mombasa. Drivers are also complaining as some 15,000 trucks will become useless with this measure. Nevertheless, this new facility will reduce the time of connection between the port in Mombasa and the dry port, and it will also reduce traffic and environmental impact, and the spread of Covid via drivers who are constantly crossing the borders. For the moment the Government of Kenya is offering benefits of storage in order to make the use of the port attractive, however the incentives are supposed to be temporary. As this has just started, the group of countries may arrive at an agreement, but Kenya’s idea is also to open up another agriculture-rich region of the central Rift Valley, the western region and lakeside city of Kisumu, and also create efficiency in transporting goods from the port of Mombasa to the landlocked countries of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the eastern DRC. In a second stage the train will link the town of Naivasha to Malaba, the shared border town within Uganda, a distance of 350 km.
Speaking at the Naivasha Inland Container Depot, the Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works Cabinet Secretary Mr. James Macharia said that following discussions between the Government and partner states of the East African Community, it was recommended that measures to reduce instances of truck drivers interacting with members of the public should be put in place (Kenya Railways, 18 May). “There is a lot of concern from members of the public on the conduct of truck drivers at the border points where they continually interact with the locals. This presents a risk whereby they could contract or pass on the virus in case anyone has it,” he said. “The usage of the Naivasha ICD and the Refitted Mv Uhuru to transport cargo will limit instances of interaction and the risk of transmission.”