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Kenya’s new move on SGR to upset China and Uganda

This week’s order by Kenyan President William Ruto to revert cargo clearing services to the port of Mombasa could upset China and Uganda, the port’s biggest clients, and trigger anxiety among major players who depend on it.

The order, issued as President Ruto took office, is set to have far-reaching ramifications.

The key question is what China’s reaction will be, given that Kenya must still meet its end of the bargain on the standard gauge railway (SGR) cargo operation numbers and debt repayments.

But more importantly, will be whether port operations’ efficiency that has currently seen goods reach Uganda in a record four days after being offloaded at the Mombasa port will continue. The shortened time was due to the seamless systems that directly fed the SGR, and onwards to the Nairobi Inland Container depot and the Naivasha dry port.

Kenya’s move also comes as neighbour Tanzania steps up its efforts to connect the Dar es Salaam port with other East African countries through the Central Corridor.

Speaking on Tuesday in his first address to the nation after his swearing-in as the fifth president of Kenya, President Ruto defended his move to undo the policy of his predecessor Uhuru Kenyatta.


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