South Sudan sidelines Kenya for Djibouti to handle its import and export goods


NAIROBI, Kenya - The directive by Kenya’s new administration to revert cargo clearing services to the port of Mombasa from the Inland Container Depot (ICD) in Naivasha has seen South Sudan seek an alternative route in Djibouti.

Africa’s new state had already purchased three acres of land at the port of Djibouti for the construction of a facility that will handle its import and export goods.

This move comes just two months after the Chamber of Commerce in South Sudan said it will shift its cargo to the port of Djibouti, which it termed as convenient for Africa’s youngest State.

The country’s Minister for Petroleum Puot Kang Chol is quoted by local media saying, “Over the years we have been only using Port Sudan and Mombasa but recently, we have decided to go to Djibouti and as I am speaking to you, we have landed in Djibouti.”

The three-acre parcel of land was procured by the Ministry of Petroleum for the purpose of exporting the country’s crude oil as well as using it on imported goods.

The decision by oil-producing nations will definitely hit the port of Mombasa economically given that South Sudan is second Kenya’s largest client after Uganda, accounting for 9.9 percent of transit volumes.

Uganda accounts for 83 percent of all throughput cargo followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania, and Rwanda at 7.2, 3.2, and 2.4 percent respectively.

Mr. Chol “If any of you have goods, and you want to bring them through Djibouti, we have land, and we will have a space for you to accommodate your materials [or] whatever you want to bring.”

While taking the oath of office last week, Dr. William Ruto issued a directive for all inbound cargo to be cleared in Mombasa.

The former administration under Uhuru Kenyatta had allocated South Sudan and Uganda land in Naivasha for the construction of a dry port, which would see goods destined to both countries cleared at the ICD facility to save truckers the long journey to Mombasa.

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) former Managing Director- Dr. Daniel Manduku while on a local media morning show cited that the inefficiency of cargo handling at the port of Mombasa impacted its competitiveness.

“In 2015 when I joined KPA the port of Mombasa was inefficient in handling cargos and it was operating beyond the international standards, what we use to have is that ships docking at the port of Mombasa will spend more than a month before the cargos are cleared which is bad for logistic business global. “comments Dr. Manduku.

He further stated that “There was a take-and-pay agreement between Kenya and the Chinese government to ensure that cargo is hauled through the standard gauge railway so as to generate money for the repayment of the loans used to build the SGR. Kenya Railways need to be competitive with road cargo transporters to ensure it has a better efficient system to enhance the revenue generation.”

Dr. Ruto promised during the election campaigns to return the port services to Mombasa if elected as President in the August election.


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