Dock workers want public participation in port issues suspended

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Dock workers want public participation in port issues suspended

Dock workers want all port engagements with private firms suspended until after the August polls to allow time to be subject to public participation according to the Constitution.

The Dock Workers Union DWU Secretary-General Simon Sang said private firms have increased interest in owning different facilities at the port, with the government not involving the public as required by law.

Sang said that they are pushing for the passing of the 2014 Bill on Government Owned Entities, which will create the best platform for ensuring that government entities are protected and made efficient.

He said his members are opposed to the recent takeover of new container terminal 2 by the Mediterranean Shipping Company MSC shipping line and the latest engagement of Dubai Port World to operate different port facilities countrywide.

Kenya is in the process of signing a concession agreement with Dubai to undertake the development, operation, management and expansion of transport logistics services in Kenya.

The Dubai port operator will have the power to run at least four berths at the port of Mombasa, the three Lamu Port completed berths and three special economic zones in Kenya if the agreement is implemented.

Mr Sang urged politicians to not engage in port matters until after the election, since such matters cannot be resolved on political platforms and instead at the parliament.

"We do not oppose the creation of Inland Container Depot in different parts of the country since they would help to decongest Mombasa port, but what we are opposing is shifting port operations to Nairobi and Naivasha," Sang said.

He said that we do not oppose the revival of the Kenya National Shipping Line, because it is an opportunity to share more than 43 billion freight charges paid to foreign shipping line, but the merger with MSC should be made public. KPA settled on a Swiss firm, MSC, to run the terminal in order to meet a loan requirement for the construction of the largest terminal at the port.

The MSC, the world's largest shipping line through the Kenya National Shipping Line KNSL, is expected to play a critical role in the running of the Sh 32 billion terminal.