Africa We Want

KENYA: Ruto Backfires on China

Responding to the continuous demand of economic operators, the new Kenyan President has ordered the resumption of customs clearance procedures for containers. Port of Mombasa, thereby revoking the monopoly granted to the logistics hubs of Nairobi and Naivasha. By Drissa Traoré

The centralization of customs clearance at China-sponsored logistics hubs was taken up by the outgoing president in 2019. Uhuru Kenyatta, criticized shippers for imposing a “difficult and ineffective” option on them. Henceforth, it will be the choice of each company.

In economic circles in Nairobi, William Ruto’s decision to scrap transit through Nairobi’s dry port is being interpreted as a setback for China, or at least, a decline in its influence in the country as it centralizes customs clearance operations. It was established to make Chinese investment profitable so that the railway could be connected.

Port of Mombasa At a logistics base based in Nairobi. China, the project’s main backer with a $2.5 billion loan, did not go ahead with the extension as planned, refusing to continue work with loans.

The change, however, raises concerns about increased congestion at Mombasa port, which despite volumes shipped by rail, experiences regular congestion. The same applies to the Mombasa road network which can experience horrendous traffic congestion due to the transfer of volumes of containers transported by train to the road.

Road smugglers are rubbing their hands after the huge loss of business caused by shifting containers to rail.

Author: MANZI
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