Railtainer service backlog:A case study of rift valley railways ICD service
This study's objective was to look into the causes of the railtainer backlog at the port of Mombasa. This is because the backlog is affecting the quality of the service and off take rate of rail bound containers from the Port. The backlog problem was there during the time of Kenya Railways and has continued to persist during Rift Valley Railways. A number of writers have attempted to get to the root causes of container backlog. According to Mongelluzo (2005) the handling of larger ships results in greater uneven flow of containers as more containers arrive during port calls. This uneven flow strains the port and railroad operations. Jackson (2005) says that the international marine container volumes have surged over the last several decades, but the ports and their supporting container distribution networks have struggled to increase capacity to match this expansion. Kulich (2004) asserts that the capacity problem is exacerbated by the fact that railroad and truck carriers serving the ports also experience severe capacity shortages. A case study research design was used and the population of study comprised of 75 staff (i.e. forty five from Rift Valley Railways and thirty from Kenya Ports Authority). Stratified random sampling was used to select a sample of forty percent of the population. The study used a semi structured and undisguised questionnaire that had both open and closed ended questions to gather primary data. The questionnaire was administered on a "drop and pick later" basis and a follow-up made to ensure a high rate of response. A total of thirty questionnaires were administered but only twenty eight questionnaires were filled and returned, this translates to ninety three percent response. There was a fifty eight percent awareness that there existed a targeted dwell time for containers at the port after discharge from ships while eighty nine percent of the respondents were aware that there were delays in loading of containers. The study confirmed that there was a backlog of rail bound containers at the port. The backlog had various causes most of which were within RVR's control. The solution to minimize the backlog lies in RVR managing the variables within its control.