Sasa ni zamu ya waSwahili kula bata.
A private company linked to the family of Mombasa Governor Ali Hassan Joho has bagged a ten-year deal to take over operations of a Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) cargo terminal in Nairobi.
Autoports Freight Terminals (AFT) Limited received exclusive rights from the Kenya Railways Corporation to use the Nairobi Freight Terminal.
The Joho-linked company, based in Mombasa, handles freight forwarding services.
The deal was lauded by the Kenya Airports Authority (KPA) acting Managing Director John Mwangemi as a move that would increase more importers to use the SGR.
“The facility is a bonded warehouse and will be operated by the Mombasa-based Autoports Freight Terminal (AFT) and is connected to the SGR line. This allows more importers to use SGR,” Mwangemi stated.
The KPA Acting MD also noted that the Nairobi Freight Terminal has the capacity to handle various types of cargo. The facility would also host government agencies that are involved in cargo intervention such as the Kenya Revenue Authority and the Kenya Bureau of Standards.
As part of the deal, AFT convinced the Kenya Railways Board that it would guarantee a movement of 1.6 million tonnes of cargo (24,615 wagons) annually.
The deal has, however, raised eyebrows from investigative agencies as well as rival companies who have raised questions on the issue of equality.
"The move will eat into Inland Container Depot (ICD) share of cargo, which will not only affect private firms in the sector but also government revenues.
“We’re asking KPA to open the same window to all Container Freight Stations (CFSs) as this is an unfair and unbalanced trade deal,” Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association chairperson Roy Mwanthi pointed out.
His sentiments were shared by CFSs Association of Kenya chairperson Daniel Nzeki
“We have always advocated for equality in trade facilitation amongst all our members. We look forward to seeing KPA extend the same treatment to the others,” Nzeki stated.