The contractor of the Naivasha Inland Container Depot has handed over the project to the government following its completion.
China Communications Construction Company Limited handed over the project on May 7.
The present status of the project is “substantially complete and ready for operations,” the contractor says
The Chinese company will, however, remain liable for the project until May 6, 2021, under the defects notification period.
A defects period is the time when the contractor remains liable for dealing with any defects that become apparent following the completion of a project.
On Tuesday, Transport CS James Macharia confirmed that the dry port was operationalised on May 7.
“The Naivasha ICD was operationalised on May 7 when we received the first train from Mombasa. Uganda and Rwanda [are] now picking cargo from Naivasha,” Macharia who was in virtual Cabinet meeting said in a short text message.
Earlier, Kenya Railways MD Phillip Mainga had referred the Star to Kenya Ports Authority saying they were the ones to deploy personnel.
Rashid Salim, the acting KPA MD, did not pick our calls.
“Sorry, I can’t talk right now,” Salim said in a text message.
The facility on over 1,000 acres can load two million tonnes of cargo every year.
Experts have questioned the rationale for the dry port, with the extension of the SGR from Naivasha to Malaba uncertain.
Kenya spent Sh150 billion on Phase 2A of the SGR project but is yet to secure funding to extend the railway line to Kisumu, then to Malaba border.
In April, Uhuru went to China, hoping to secure $3.6 billion but the Asian giant declined, citing lack of feasibility. It asked Kenya to negotiate with Uganda.
The country, however, secured $400 million (Sh40 billion) to rehabilitate the 120-year-old railway line to Uganda.
Transport CS Macharia on May 7 said Kenya Railways directed cargo freights from Mombasa to the Naivasha Inland Container Depot for onward transportation to neighbouring countries.
Macharia said the move would boost the movement of goods in the region, which has been hard hit by partial lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The number of trucks operating across the borders has decreased.
The inaugural freight via the standard gauge railway arrived in Mombasa late last week and was received by Macharia accompanied by top officials from the Kenya Ports Authority and the Kenya Railways Corporation.
Most of the cargo is destined to Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Kenya Railways MD Phillip Mainga said the corporation would have two initial daily trains hauling up to 108 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUS) and a minimum of 70 TEUS.
Naivasha ICD can hold two million tonnes annually and is intended to reduce congestion at the Nairobi ICD and Mombasa port, cut the number of trucks on the roads and facilitate seamless trans-shipment of goods to neighbouring countries.
Uganda cargo commands more than 80 per cent of the regional transit traffic through the Mombasa port.
Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda have imposed tough restrictive measures on Kenyan truck drivers.
A number of Covid-19 cases in Uganda are of truck drivers who crossed the border from Kenya.
The Naivasha ICD houses all government agencies involved in the handling of cargo and revenue officers from the partner states of Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania.
Source: The Star