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Shipping & Logistics

Cargo volumes at Eldoret Airport drop 12.5pc on Covid turbulence

Wednesday April 28 2021

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Workers at the Eldoret International Airport pack fresh produce consignment for export. PHOTO | FILE

The volume of cargo handled by Eldoret International Airport has dropped 12.5 per cent as at February on Covid-19 disruptions.

Data from the airport indicate that the cargo volumes stood at 8.5 million kilogrammes at February compared to 9.6 million kilogrammes during a similar period last year.

“Our target this financial year is 12.5 million kilogrammes and we are optimistic that we will hit this projection,” Mr Walter Agong, the airport manager told Shipping & Logistics last week in an interview.

He observed that most shippers in the region prefer to import goods through the airport since the goods are subjected to verification and clearance conducted by the multi-agency team comprising Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service, Kenya Bureau of Standards, Anti-Counterfeit Authority.

“This is ensures one- stop- shop which saves on time and storage costs since cargo is supposed to be inspected and cleared within 24 hours,” said the official.

During the period under review, the airport also recorded a decline in the number of passengers at 106,459 compared to 188,247 as result of closure of airspace for several months last year due to Covid-19 pandemic. This year, the airport projects the number will hit 500,000.

There is a fresh bid by various stakeholders and devolved units under North Rift Economic Bloc to increase the exports via the Eldoret International Airport.

The airport remains underutilised despite is strategic location in the region dominated by agribusinesses. Currently there are two cargo handlers at the airport- Canken International and Siginon freight handlers with their cold rooms, both, lying idle for lack of exports.

Canken has 110 metric tonnes for dry or imported goods and 230 metric tonnes capacity to handle fresh produce while Siginon has 40 metric tonne capacity unused cold rooms and another 200 metric tonne utilised for dry cargo.

Wooing farmers

“Currently, the county governments and other stakeholders are engaging with farmer groups to enter into contractual agreements with the exporters and airlines to enhance production of fresh produce,” said Mr Agong, adding that plans were also afoot to increase cargo handlers.

Flower farms and other fresh produce in the North Rift region in Uasin Gishu and Trans Nzoia counties transport their produce by the road to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for the export market due to their cargo handler preferences.

2021-04-27 21:00:00


www.businessdailyafrica.com


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