The Transport ministry insists it will not back down on the closure of container freight stations (CFS), saying they have been used to sneak in drugs and other contraband.
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia told a Senate hearing last week that the CFSs had also been used by unscrupulous importers and traders to evade taxes.
The facilities are used to store freight containers after ships dock before importers move them either by road or rail to their destinations.
“Even if emotions run high from the leadership of the affected region, we shall not relent in the closure of these CSFs. We want transporters to continue with clean business.”
Coastal region residents, through their leaders led by Mvita MP Abdulswamad Nassir, had accused the CS of killing legitimate trade following a directive to move all cargo destined for Nairobi and the country’s hinterland through the standard gauge railway (SGR).
The goods were to be inspected at the Embakasi Inland Container Deport (ICD) and not at the CFS in Mombasa.
Mr Macharia said the directive that was jointly issued by the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and the Kenya Revenue Authority in July had since been suspended pending consultations with the stakeholders in the transport sector.
Mr Macharia told Parliament the CFS’s have no future and will eventually be closed down with increased efficiency of the SGR.