Kenya has launched a paperless cargo clearance system that is expected to save the economy millions of dollars by reducing the time and cost it takes to move goods across the region.
The rollout of the Electronic Single Window System, also known as the Kenya Tradenet System, will cement the country’s position as the gateway to East Africa by making it easier and cheaper for traders to move their goods around the region.
With the amount of cargo coming into East Africa through Kenya rising each year, the different systems used by the government to clear cargo have often been blamed for the long delays at the port of Mombasa.
According to the Economic Survey 2014, cargo handled at the port went up 1.8 per cent to 22.31 million tonnes in 2013.
It takes an average of seven days to complete the clearing process. Kenya hopes to drastically cut this dwell time.
“With the Electronic Single Window System in place, we intend to progressively reduce the cargo dwell time at the port of Mombasa to a maximum of three days and at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to one day so as to significantly ease the cost of doing business in the region,” said President Kenyatta.
It is estimated that once it is fully operational, the system will save Kenya between Ksh13.03 billion ($150 million) and Ksh21.72 billion ($250 million) per year within the first three years. This is expected to rise to between Ksh26.1 billion ($300) and Ksh39.1 billion ($450 million).
President Kenyatta said that the system will be integrated with the government’s planned electronic payment system to cut down the corruption that is associated with the payment of fees at ports of entry.
The system currently integrates 24 government agencies, and various payment modes, including mobile money transfer services and 24 commercial banks.
Ultimately, East African countries hope to launch a single window system that will cover the whole region.
Rwanda in August 2012 became the first East African Community country to launch a single window.
Source: The East African
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