Shipping & Logistics
Taxman, KPA in deal to end cargo delays at port
Tuesday, May 28, 2019 19:39
By Samuel Baya
The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and the Kenya Shipping Agents Association (KSSA) have signed a charter to enhance cargo clearance efficiency and boost regional trade.
The Transhipment Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) charter is part of a commitment to boost port operations and clear bottlenecks affecting efficient cargo movement.
The charter will ensure clear performance targets and processes for the agencies operating at the Mombasa port. Each party will be given clear timelines while emphasis will be placed on the provision of adequate resources to clear transhipment cargo expeditiously.
At the signing ceremony, which was held at the KPA headquarters in Mombasa last week, the KRA Customs and Border Control Commissioner, Kevin Safari described the formulation of SOPs as a key milestone for the shipping stakeholders.
Mr Safari was accompanied by KPA general manager (operations) Captain William Ruto, and the Kenya Shipping Agents Association CEO Juma Ali Tellah.
The adoption of a bidding SOPs, they said, will play a key role in raising efficiency levels at the port.
KPA said the SOPs have been developed to international standards and will enhance the transhipment process by removing bottlenecks that have previously occasioned cargo clearance delays.
Mombasa port handled 12,189 TEUs in transhipment in April 2019, an increase of only two percent from April 2018.
In March this year, KPA managing director Daniel Manduku said the government had streamlined cargo clearance process at the port to end persistent delays.
“Towards the end of last year, the port experienced a lot of imports. We even exceeded our targets by over 100,000 twenty feet equivalent units (Teus),” Dr Manduku said.
“Because of massive imports in the month of October, November and December and because of the many multi-agency interventions that were going on, the clearance of cargo especially those we listed in the notice was taking too long.”
Dr Manduku said imported goods also had to undergo a 100 percent verification and the tests which were taking too long.
“… we had to wait for test results from the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs). For example, if it was sugar or cooking oil, they had to be taken into the lab for testing and some had to even undergo culture testing which was going beyond the four-day free storage period,” Dr Manduku said.
Other measures that have been put in place is to test goods at the source before they are exported out of those countries.
The MD said KRA will also be doing a pre-arrival clearance for goods imported into the country.
“We are going to have a certificate of conformity which will be respected because testing now will be done at the source before exporting,” Dr Manduku said.
“KRA is also going to start a pre-arrival clearance such that by the time goods come, all taxes will have been secured by KRA. Those two measure will therefore make it easier to evacuate cargo within the four-day free period.”
Among other raft of changes is that only four government agencies will operate at the port.
“We are not going to have any other agency at the port except four — KPA, KRA, Kebs, and Kenya Railways (KR),” Dr Manduku said.
“The way we have been doing for cars, (all cars are tested from the source), that is what we have done for all cargo and because of that, we don’t expect cargo to take more than four days… we want to quickly clear everything from the port.”