More than 20 container freight stations (CFSs) may be forced to shut down following Kenya Ports Authority’s (KPA) decision to stop cargo nominations to the CFSs.
Kenya Ports Authority directed its management through an email to immediately stop cargo nominations to the stations.
The email from head of container operations Edward Opiyo, sent to KPA managing director Daniel Manduku and other officials read, “Team, please stop any further CFS nominations with immediate effect.”
“Those already documented will be allowed to get out by 0700hrs. Bring this to the attention of employees for compliance.”
If this directive is implemented it would mean that hundreds of CFS employees will soon be rendered jobless as all cargo will henceforth be cleared at the port.
Businesses in the coastal towns are also likely to suffer as the shutting down of CFS stations will mean that businesses incur loses.
Business people feel that should KPA’s decision be followed, towns along the Mombasa- Nairobi highway are bound to ‘die’ and employees will lose their jobs.
Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association chairman Roy Mwanthi said that the move by the Ports Authority is an insensitive one and is only going to cause congestion and confusion.
Speaking during an interview, Mr. Mwathi said that it is a malicious move as the KPA’s directive will kill small businesses in the coastal region.
“We are opposed to this decision as it is a clear way of killing the stations. This would mean that those working at the CFSs would be rendered jobless because the directive blocks goods from being taken to the existing CFSs,” he said.
Mr. Mwathi explained that importers of goods have a lenient period of 21 to 30 days to clear their cargo once they get to the CFSs.
“KPA wants to impose unnecessary pressure on importers because unlike the CFSs where goods are cleared within a more reasonable period, the port gives only four days for the importers to clear their goods,” he said.
He urged the government to dismiss the order, adding that it is a major trade barrier, and the port should remain a transit point, not a storage place.