PUBLISHED ON July 25th, 2014


Shipping lines and agents across the region have less than a month to collect empty containers at the Mombasa Port before the Kenya Ports Authority starts disposing of or destroying them.

In a notice, KPA gave the agents up to August 6 to collect any empty container that had been lying at the Port in excess of 30 days by July 1.

According to Bernard Osero, KPA head of corporate affairs, agents and shipping lines were avoiding extra costs at the container warehouses, opting to leave the empty containers at the port.

A token administrative charge of $100 per empty container collected will be applicable, KPA said in the advertisement.

Juma Tellah, the chief executive of the Kenya Ships Agents Association blamed the Kenya Revenue Authority for failure to communicate on the existence of such containers.

“When cargo is either destroyed or auctioned, the containers are dumped at the port without the knowledge of the lines and agents, it is upon the government-KRA to inform the parties,” said Mr Tellah.

Information flow

Ugandan traders also blame the delay in picking up containers at the port on the lack of free flow of information.

“Ugandan businessmen prefer paying for the shipped goods when the ship has docked, but by the time they discover this through their agents at the port, it is a month later, meaning the goods have already attracted penalties,” said William Lusabya Kidima, the representative of the Ugandan business community in Mombasa.

Experts said the decongestion exercise on cargo and empty containers by KPA should be carried out more often.

The decongestion will enhance the efficiency of the port at a time expansion plans are underway. It is not a warehouse to hold containers and goods,” said Polycarp Igathe, chairman of the Kenya Manufacturers Association.

The launch of the Mombasa Port Community Charter, which hopes to bring together 24 agencies, is expected to improve efficiency.

A single window is expected to double East African trade to $33.3 billion by 2016, and enhance transport along the Northern Corridor from the port of Mombasa to Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi.

“By bringing together all clearing agents and authorities at the port, it will be easy to find a way of working together and reducing the cost of doing business,” said Meshack Kipturgo, executive director of the Shippers Council of East Africa.

Source: The East African

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