Rwanda bound cargo is unlikely to be affected by the ongoing strike by Kenyan transporters that started on Monday this week at the Port of Mombasa, a senior official at the Ministry of Trade said yesterday.
The Port handles approximately 80 percent of Rwanda’s total import and export that is road based.
Emmanuel Hategeka, the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Trade told Business Times that Rwanda is unlikely to be affected since most of its cargo is handled by international courier companies like SDV Transami that have their own parking yards.
For small transporters using the Port, Hategeka said they have an option of using the Port parking if they are loading their cargo.
“As far as we are concerned our Rwandan transporters are moving up and about- they have not been stopped. This is a question of negotiation between Kenyan transporters and the Mombasa municipal council. If transit trucks (Rwandan) are going to the Port to load they do not have to park,” the official said.
The Kenyan transporters are protesting the introduction of daily parking fees by the Mombasa Municipal Council, which they say will make the port more expensive.
The new parking fees are; 600Kshs (4,426Rwf) for pickups, Kshs700 (5,159 Rwf) for short trucks, kshs800 (5,896Rwf) for semi trailers and Kshs 1000 (7,371Rwf) for fuel tankers.
Reports of the strike have raised fear that Rwandan bound cargo is likely to get stuck as Rwandan transports have no official parking yard at the Port.
According to a statement from Municipal Council, the new parking fees are part of the measures the council is putting in place to manage traffic flow in her streets and major roads. This is to ease traffic congestion which has been a major challenge within the island.
While government can not stop the Municipal Council from charging the parking fee, Hategeka said the extent of the fee that is charged is something that can be negotiated.
“If it comes to our attention that the fee is a “non-tariff barrier,” we shall go ahead and negotiate,” he said.
Taib Taib, the Managing Director of Pemba Flour Millers sarl, a leading importer from the Port of Mombasa said that while his company currently has 4,000 metric tonnes of raw material at the Port awaiting transportation, the company had not yet been affected.
“We have enough stock right now and if it is solved within a short time we will not have any losses. But if the solution is delayed we will have problems,” he said.
However, by press time, KTA and the Municipal Council were already holding discussions to resolve the issue.