RIP China Colonisation: Traders in weekly protests over orders to use SGR
Business traders who import goods have decried being forced to use the Standard Gauge Railway to transport their goods.
According to them, the SGR is more expensive as compared to trucks.
Weekly demonstrations have been held in Mombasa, with businessmen, local residents and leaders who are against the policy.
Some were even spotted carrying a mock coffin branded ‘RIP China Colonisation’ in blood-red letters.
According to Manduku who a board member of Kenya Railways, the charges have been put higher in order to recover the Ksh. 66o billion debt owed to China’s Exim Bank.
For instance, moving a 40-foot container by SGR costs Ksh. 80,000 which is almost the same as trucks but importers are forced to pay at least Ksh. 40,000 more, for truck transportation and depot fees.
According to Reuters, Kenyan importers in and around Nairobi have been forced to use the line since October last year after the port confirmed the policy in August.
The Kenya Ports Authority says businesses which depend on imported cargo have to use the SGR because the port is contacted to supply it with a minimum amount of cargo.
The authority said they have an obligation to feed the railway by providing 1 million tonnes of cargo to the railway per year, rising to 6 million by 2024.
“KPA has an obligation to feed the railway, we were the guarantors of the rail,” Daniel Manduku, head of Kenya Ports Authority told Reuters.