By ROBERT KAMUKAMA
MWANZA- SHIFTMEDIA- There is worry in Kenya regarding the new avenues created by other East African partner states on the importation of petroleum products.
Uganda is among the states along the Northern Corridor that is seeking new import routes, especially for its petroleum products.
The Uganda Railways recently shipped in over 500,000 liters of petroleum products from Dar es Salaam port through Mwanza into Port bell in Kampala.
The new routes follow the revamping of the Port bell- Mwanza route that was last used 16 years ago.
Just like Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mombasa port has been accounting for over three-quarters of Uganda’s destined petroleum cargo.
According to The Citizen, quoting sources from Kenya’s capital Nairobi, with Kampala looking to Dar, the potential loss of the lucrative petroleum transshipment business has jolted officials in Kenya.
Kenya recently invested $400 million in the rehabilitation of its oil pipeline network from Mombasa to Eldoret and holding facilities in Eldoret.
It also constructed a $170 million fuel jetty in Kisumu in anticipation of transferring part of the fuel via Lake Victoria.
While some state officials have put on a brave face, the chipping away of business is likely to increase as the country enters full electioneering mode in the coming months.
But this was downplayed by Macharia Irungu the Kenya Pipeline Corporation managing director.
Macharia Irungu was quoted in the EastAfrican saying that Uganda’s attempt to re-route shipments through Tanzanian ports of Dar es Salaam and Tanga would not impact its business much, noting that less than three percent of the fuel cargo will go through the Central Corridor.
The General Election is slated for August 2022 and the battle lines are already drawn.
The falling-out between President Kenyatta and his deputy Dr William Ruto is causing jitters and a bare-knuckle duel is shaping up between the two estranged politicians, who were elected on the same ticket in the elections in 2013 and 2017.