Importers and businesses in Rwanda and the rest of the Northern Corridor can soon expect timely and efficient services at the port of Mombasa, following the signing of the Mombasa Port Community Charter by Kenya and the regional public and private agencies involved in port affairs.
The charter, signed earlier this week at the port of Mombasa, is expected to improve efficiency and boost trade across East Africa.
The charter will, among others, aid the establishment of logistical and transport infrastructure, improve operational efficiency and facilitate regulation and oversight engagement.
Karin Andersson, the chairperson of the Board of TradeMark Africa, said the port being the gateway to Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and other countries along the Northern Corridor will ease the cost of doing business.
“The operational efficiency brought about by the actualisation of paperless trading through the single window system, the reduction of cycle times through speed and 24 hour economy at the port will help reduce the cost of doing business in the region,” Andersson said.
TradeMark Africa, is the leading development partner in the Mombasa Port Community Charter, which is also backed by Canada, Denmark, Finland, Netherlands, Sweden, UK and USA.
It is estimated that the cost of imports in the region go up by between 30 per cent and 45 per cent due to transport challenges and port processes. This cost is transferred to end customers.
Commenting on the latest development, Phillip Mucyo, a Rwandan businessman dealing in imports, mostly household items, said the previous inconveniences at the port such as delays in clearance not only slowed down businesses in terms of supplying orders but also increased the cost of doing business.
“Since efforts have been made to reduce non-tariff barriers and other administrative hurdles, improvement of port infrastructure will help aradicate challenges to doing business in the region,” Mucyo said.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who witnessed the Charter signing, said traffic at the port had steadily risen over the years, at 7 per cent annually, and in turn exerted pressure on the existing infrastructure hence the need to improve its capacity.
The Kenyan President, however, called for further review of policies and systems, saying infrastructure alone was not enough to create the desired change.
“We know that new infrastructure alone will not deliver the efficiency we desire. We must critically analyse our policies, processes and systems to see what we can improve and what we must discard,” Kenyatta said.
The performance will be reflected in the time taken by ships to dock, offload or load before departure, the time cargo takes from the port to inland areas and logistical costs as a percentage of goods after landing.
The Kenyan leader also oversaw the launch of the Kenya Ports Authority Strategic plan which will see the port improve on human resource capacity, infrastructure and reduce business risks.
Source: The New Times
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of TradeMark Africa.