The Port of Mombasa glares at a new threat from South Sudan, with renewed clamor to shift business to the Djibouti route, denying Kenya revenue from the 1.1 million tons of cargo the facility handles annually.
Mombasa was the main route for all shipments destined for inland and South Sudan now says the port of Djibouti is shorter.
“We are in talks with the authorities from Djibouti so that we can connect Djibouti, Ethiopia and South Sudan to use the port of Djibouti via Ethiopia,” Deputy Chairman of the South Sudan Chamber of Commerce Lado Lukak Legge was quoted as saying by the media in Sudan.
“Djibouti is close compared to South Sudan. The port of Mombasa in Kenya and the Djibouti government stand ready to strengthen trade ties with South Sudan and Ethiopia,” he said.
Foreign Minister Macharia Kamau said to Business Daily< /em> on this push is not yet a problem for Kenya.
The South Sudanese embassy in Nairobi does not respond to our inquiries about the country’s official position on the matter.
South Sudan is Mombasa’s second largest port after Uganda, accounting for 9.9 percent of the transit volume. Uganda accounts for 83 percent of the total cargo, followed by the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Tanzania and Rwanda with 7.2, 3.2 and 2.4 percent respectively.
The Executive Director of the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), John Mwangemi, declined to comment on the matter, saying that the port was not aware of the move.
“I cannot comment on the matter, we have not received any communication from South Sudan on the matter” , said Ambassador Mwangemi.
The relocation, if successful, will also hit the newly built dry ports in Naivasha and Nairobi, where cargo destined for South Sudan should be handled at the Inland Container Depot (ICD).
Read:Dar Port benefits from rising political heat in Kenya
Most recently, Kenya and South Sudan have agreed to handle cargo bound for Juba in Nairobi from this month. < /p>
In 2019, President Uhuru Kenyatta announced that Kenya would become part of South Sudan 10 acres of land will be made available for the construction of a dry port Naivasha Special Economic Zone. The country that prompted Juba to use Kenya as a transit route for its cargo was intended to facilitate the movement of goods to the neighboring country.
Kenya and South Sudan have over the years been working on completing transnational highways, including the Eldoret-Lokichoggio-Nadapal-Kapoeta-Torit-Juba road, which would facilitate cargo movement between the two countries.
Kenya has also accelerated the completion of the Lamu port of South Sudan Ethiopia (Lapsset), the oil pipeline and of Lamu Port to connect the two countries.
This comes at a time when some shippers are avoiding the Northern Corridor, which connects cargo from the port of Mombasa to Juba, Kigali, Kampala as well as the Democratic Republic Republic of the Congo and are now shifting their cargo to the Central Corridor.
Read:Northern Corridor claims to “monitor Kenya’s elections”
The 1,300 km Central Corridor starts at the port of Dar es Salaa m and serves Tanzania, Zambia, Rwanda, B Urundi, Uganda and the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The northern corridor is 1,700 kilometers long.
The move by the Democratic Republic of the Congo to join the East African Community (EAC) also poses a threat to the Port of Mombasa as it slowly shifts the cargo passing through the northern corridor goes the central route to Kinshasa.
Dennis Ombok, former chief executive officer of the Kenya Transporters Association, said there are many factors that will determine whether Mombasa is the right choice for those traveling to the DRC certain cargo will remain relevant.
< p> “Things like tolls, transit times and traffic situations are some of the factors that transport companies will use to determine the route they want to use and Mombasa needs to up their game or this one losing business to Tanzania,” said Mr. Ombok.
Mr. Ombok said that the incentives in the ports also play a key role in determining the effective route for transport companies
“Truck drivers will also be able to take advantage of incentives at the ports such as free storage time and lower fees to decide whether to use the port of Dar es Salaam or Mombasa,” he said.
Prior to approval, EAC countries had to pay tariffs on importing or exporting goods to the DRC due to the applicable external tariffs.
– Business Daily