Bloomberg News

Kenya’s Biggest Grain Handler Bans Company From Terminal

April 13, 2012

Grain Bulk Handlers Ltd., which runs Kenya’s only common-user terminal for cereals, said it banned a company contracted by Mombasa Maize Millers Ltd., the nation’s biggest processor of the grain, from the plant after complaints it was obtaining information that cut competition.

Inspectorate Ltd., contracted by Mombasa Maize Millers to monitor its shipping consignments, was prohibited after some companies said it was getting details on other millers’ deliveries, hurting their competitiveness, Grain Bulk Handlers’ lawyer Shazeen Chatur said by phone from Mombasa yesterday.

Grain Bulk Handlers appointed SGS SA (SGSN)’s local unit to compile a report, which is available to importers, listing cargo on each vessel moving through the terminal. Mombasa Maize Millers and Grain Bulk Handlers failed to find a solution on the exclusivity of the information during arbitration overseen by the Kenya Maritime Authority, which regulates the industry.

“We are therefore at a loss to understand what other reason there would be to consider such information exclusive to your use and generation,” the authority’s director general, Nancy Karigithu, said in an April 2 letter.

Millers in East Africa’s biggest economy have since 2008 been pushing for the licensing of a second bulk-grain terminal after the eight-year monopoly granted Grain Bulk Handlers expired. Grain Bulk Handlers has improved quayside productivity and is able to discharge at a rate of 600 metric tons an hour.

The average daily discharge rate at the terminal from specialized bulk carriers is 11,000 tons. On some occasions daily performance rates are as high as 13,800 tons.

The official who answered the phone at Inspectorate’s office in Mombasa declined to comment as he isn’t authorized to speak on behalf of the company.

Mombasa Maize Millers Group Finance Officer Munir Thabit declined comment when contacted by Bloomberg News by phone.

Annual demand for corn in Kenya is 3.24 million tons, Agriculture Ministry Permanent Secretary Romano Kiome said Jan. 25.

To contact the reporter on this story: Githua Kihara in Mombasa via Nairobi at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Richardson at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net


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