PUBLISHED ON February 2nd, 2024

Trade PS Clarifies Reports of EU Banning Air Freight Exports

Trade Principal Secretary Alfred K’ Ombudo on Wednesday clarified that there is currently no ban on Air Freight Exports for fresh produce from Kenya to the European Union.

The PS noted that the government was not aware of any ban on Kenyan fresh produce exports as earlier indicated by reports by a local daily.

“So, there is no ban, and for our exporters, sea freight is a useful addition to airfreight,” the PS clarified.

Media reports which have since been flagged as inaccurate had indicated that Kenyan exporters were currently shifting to sea freight for fresh produce as opposed to air travel which the European Union (EU) had allegedly banned.

However, the PS elaborated that Kenyan exporters already preferred to use the sea as it was a cheaper and allows for more customised cold storage facilities. As such, he stressed that the trend was not informed by a ban but rather, shaped by preference.

Different types of flowers in containers awaiting shipment.
 “Already, a substantial quantity of Kenyan exports into Europe are freighted by sea. These are for products such as mangoes and avocadoes,” PS Ombudo noted.

Some commentators had previously argued that sea freight was costlier and a slower means of delivering fresh produce to the EU, a comment which the PS has contested.

“And although most flowers are freighted by air, some are starting to use sea freight, as this will get cheaper and greener,” Ombudo stated.

The PS further revealed the government’s plans and involvement to increase the transition of fresh export produce to sea transport while citing its advantages.

“That’s why in addition to its efforts, the government is cooperating with development partners such as the European Union, Denmark and TradeMarkAfrica to make efficient sea freight for exports a reality and overall logistics efficient,” the PS noted.

However, he also emphasised that it would not be an overnight process and would require some time to be implemented.

In his statement, he clarified that the project is not just working on freight issues, but also working towards resolving production, storage, logistics, and value-addition challenges that the horticultural sector faces.

Kenya’s export produce has been experiencing some challenges, especially with product quality, that led to a society associated with avocado exports having their licenses revoked two weeks ago.

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.