PUBLISHED ON January 23rd, 2015

Dockers change tune on private running of second terminal

A workers’ union now says it will push the government to enter into a deal that will hand operations of the second container terminal into private hands.

Dock Workers Union secretary general Simon Sang was last week quoted as saying the cargo terminal should not be privatised.

The Kenya Ports Authority has advertised for interested parties to tender their bids for operations of the facility set for completion in March next year.

Conditions for privatisation of the terminal operations were part of the loan agreement in which the Japanese Government was to fund the 1.2 million TEU facility to the tune of Sh22 billion while the government was expected to inject Sh4 billion.

On Thursday, Mr Sang claimed a statement he sent to the media had been “misinterpreted”, saying besides using the word “privatisation” he also suggested that the government should not allow the operator to compete with KPA.

“We are negotiating with the ministry to have the operator bring its own business in form of transshipment. The union is collaborating with the ministry in the negotiations that will see Treasury CS come up with a structure to actualise this,” he said on phone from Nairobi.

In the earlier statement, Mr Sang had cited the ports of Tema in Ghana and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania that were privatised yet are not performing well, and compared them with Durban and Dubai ports which are not but professionally managed as some of the best performing in the world.

The issue of privatisation of Mombasa port has over the past five years attracted fierce opposition from the cargo handler’s workforce of nearly 7,000 who fear they might lose their jobs once the facility is handed over to a private operator.

Whereas KPA board froze hiring of new staff in March 2010, politicians from the region have been pushing for a reverse of the decision so that their constituents get hired by one of the best employers in the region in exchange for votes.

Source: Daily Nation

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