By Victor Adar
When the 120-kilometre Nairobi-Naivasha passenger railway line was completed in mid-October 2019, amid high expectations and need to provide fast, safe and convenient transport solution, some Kenyans were afraid that the project would likely not pay off. But the launch of freight operations to the Naivasha Inland Container Depot (NICD) in December, around two months after the deal, could go some way in shifting that mind-set.
Although people abreast of the cargo industry have questioned the rationale of the dry port, with questions touching on opportunities, and what it means to the logistics sector, the SGR cargo operations to Naivasha looks like a viable project – the Naivasha transhipment station might halve the tracking journey for businesses in Western Kenya and other East African Community (EAC) countries.
The facility is anticipated to boost storage of cargo mainly those destined for the EAC partner states that include Uganda, South Sudan, Northern Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo.
When the SGR cargo operations was first launched some five years ago from Mombasa, many thought it would stop in Nairobi. But the Kenya Revenue Authority has now commenced movement of transit cargo from the Port of Mombasa to the Naivasha dry port, in what it says is a move that will decongest the Port of Mombasa and improve efficiency at the facility.
“The KRA office at the Naivasha ICD is now operational with a marshalling area having the capacity to hold 700 trucks at any given time. The Customs offices have equally been deployed with relevant skilled staff,” KRA said in a statement.
“It is our expectation that these new transport facilities will significantly support and provide anchorage for the development of the Naivasha Industrial Park,” said President Uhuru Kenyatta during the launch of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) freight services at the SGR Nairobi terminus in Syokimau in December last year.
The facility has a One Stop Centre (OSC) model where all key government agencies offer their services to clients. Regional revenue authorities including Uganda Revenue Authority, Rwanda Revenue Authority, Tanzania Revenue Authority and Burundi Revenue Authority are also housed at the OSC. (