Uganda government through the Minister of Works and Transport has written to Kenya’s Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia expressing displeasure over the directive to use the Standard Gauge Railway to transport cargo from Mombasa to Naivasha ICD.
In the petition, enjoining the Uganda Private Sector Lobby, the Ugandan authorities say that rail transport is more expensive than road transport. Therefore, the authorities worry that the extra cost will be passed on to the Uganda consumers by the respective importers.
In addition, the private sector lobby body says that there will be high cost of importing products and higher cashflow requirements. This is because the Rail/KPA invoice is paid upfront before loading from Naivasha unlike road transport invoice that is due as per agreed terms.
The Ugandan authorities opine that there should be Consumer Choice by the importer or business person on the mode of transport for efficiency and cost effective products.
Kenya had said the mandatory SGR directive would help mitigate the COVID19 spread by truck drivers. However, the Uganda Transport minister says
The option of using the Naivasha ICD for Transit Cargo would not reduce human traffic movement , as truck drivers would still be required to pick containers from the Naivasha ICD to their destinationEdward Katumba – UG Transport Minister
The authorities say that SGR should be self-sustaining and compete fairly with road transport for increased efficiency and benefit of the EAC region.