The Shippers Council of Eastern Africa (SCEA) has stated that the East Africa region is currently experiencing a shortage of vessels and containers which has contributed to the jump on the cost of shipment. As international freight charges have gone up by between 20–25 per cent, a rise in the cost of goods in Kenya is imminent. The price hike is one of the impacts of last month's week-long blockage of the Suez Canal.
The Shippers Council says that before Covid-19, it cost an average of $1,400 to ship a 40ft container from most ports to Mombasa. This has gone up to between $3,600 and $3,700. Increased trade between Europe and Asia after a slow down at the height of the pandemic last year, has also affected the movement of vessels to the East Africa including Kenya.
The trend has impacted Kenya’s, marked with reduced operations on the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) freight services, where the number of trains moving cargo from the Port of Mombasa has reduced to between three and five per day.
Local manufacturers have reported delays in shipment of raw materials and finished goods due to the vessel and container shortage, which has affected movement of containerised goods. According to the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), there was an average of one to two weeks delay in terms of overall time, especially for shipping lines using the Canal.