Shipping companies in Uganda are struggling to keep their clients happy and to remain in business as the shaky political situation in Kenya keeps goods trucks from traveling to and from the Mombasa port.
Goretti Zalwango, Administration Manager at Inter Freight, says only a handful of containers have been released from Mombasa since the post-election violence broke out in Kenya three weeks ago. She says releasing and transporting cargo containers to Mombasa is a great risk because there are no guarantees that they will be processed in time.
Zalwango says that despite the waivering of the extended waiting fee by Kenya Ports Authority, Inter Freight has to work hard to ensure that clients are not completely put off by the delays.
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The Government of Kenya has provided armed escort to take goods from Mombasa. However this has not reduced the congestion at the port.
Large volumes of goods like coffee, tea, cocoa and tobacco destined for markets in America, Europe and Asia are still lying in stores in Kampala awaiting transport. Humphrey Pule, the Sales and Marketing Manager of Kuehne and Nagel, says his company is trying everything possible to satisfy its customers who are anxious about meeting their contractual agreements with importers.
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An officer at Spedag in Luzira says they are unable to utilize all their trucks, particularly those with Ugandan registration plates for fear that they will be vandalized in Kenya.
Some of the shipping and freight companies require that their clients comprehensively insure their cargo or it's transported at the owner's risk. Others have increased freight charges between Mombasa and Kampala by an average of 150 dollars to meet escort charges and the increased price of diesel.