PUBLISHED ON March 23rd, 2015

Uganda importers unhappy with major shipping lines

KAMPALA, UGANDA – Local importers have once again cried out to the East African Community (EAC) to save them from auxiliary charges being charged by Shipping Lines under their umbrella body Association of Container Freight Stations (CFS).

Charles Kareebi the Chairperson of the Uganda Shippers Council and President Uganda Freight Forwarders Association said in Kampala recently the Shipping Lines have continued to charge duplicated fees like $70 of the Delivery Order Note, $90 on transporting each TEU(Twenty Foot Equivalent Tonnes) container from the ship to the CFS storage facilities and $10 as cleaning fees.

“There is no difference between the Bill of Legend and this so called Delivery Order Note. Why continue to duplicate and we pay these auxiliary fees. When you multiply those fees throughout a year, they make us uncompetitive and our doing of business expensive,” said Kareebi at the Kenya Ports Authority Stakeholders dialogue in Kampala.

Kareebi cited the multiple weighbridges in Kenya as another Non-Tariff Barrier to trade. “One weighs at Mariyakani, then Mlolongo, Gilgil and Webuye. Why all these weigh bridges. We think if one has weighed at Mariyakani, the next weighing point should be Busia or Malaba,” stressed Kareebi.

“There are more than 33 Shipping Lines at the Port of Mombasa. Most of which are not even in Uganda, such fees are destruction to our work,” noted Jaffery Ali the General Secretary of the Uganda Clearing Industry and forwarding Association (UCIFA).

Daniel Nzeki, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Container Freight Stations explained “the auxiliary fees” are just service fees paid by importers for the services rendered to them by Shipping Lines. They pay salaries and other costs to the staff of the Shipping Lines.

Top Executives of Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya National Bureau of Standards were in Kampala to interact with their customers and get a feeling on how they perceive the port of Mombasa and the general transition of goods in the Kenyan market.

Responding to a query about the auxiliary fees, Kenya Ports Authority Managing Director Gichiri Ndua said “There are no any extra charges charged. Whether its transport, handling or storage outside the KPA tariff. If anyone is doing it, then it’s illegal, unless through an agreement between both parties.”

Gichiri said the Port of Mombasa recorded a total cargo through put of 24.875 million in 2014 compared with 22.307 million tons handled in in 2013, reflecting a notable increase of 11.5 per cent. The Port handled a total of 1,012,002 TEUs against 894,000 TEUs handled in 2013 which is a notable increase by 118,002 TEUs or 13.2 per cent. “Total transit traffic of 7.2 million tons in 2014 against 6.7 million tons was realized in the corresponding period in 2013, representing a volume increase of 490,000 tons or 7.3 per cent. This was as a result of increased handling of Ugandan cargo by 609,830 tons or 12.4 per cent,” he said.

Gichiri said Uganda continued to maintain a dominant position as the leading transit cargo destination, accounting for 76.7 per cent share of the total transit traffic. The overall growth for Uganda traffic was 610,000 tons or 12.4 per cent, up from 4.9 million tons in 2013 to 5.5 million tons in 2014.

Talking about development projects at the port, Capt. Twalib Khamis KPA General Manger Operations said in 2014 they acquired 11 new Reach Stackers, 10 manual spreaders, 12 Terminal Tractors (TTs), and 12 Rubber Tyred Gantries.

While imports increased by 13.8 per cent, exports on the other hand recorded a 3.6 per cent decrease.

Tanzania’s total transit for was 187,848 tons in 2014 against 192,475 tons in 2013, reflecting a decline of 4,626 tons or 2.4 per cent. The market share for Tanzania cargo was 2.6 per cent of the total transit traffic.

Gichiri added that the domestic traffic dominated the market segment with a share of 68.1 per cent in 2014 from 69.1 per cent registered in 2013, while transit and transshipment had shares of 28.9 per cent and 2.9 per cent respectively.

The Ship Turnaround Time in 2014, for all vessels remained the same at 3.5 days in 2014 against 3.5 days in a similar period in 2013, even when the number and size went up.

“The average container dwell time during the period January – December 2014 was 3.9 days against 4.9 days in 2013 reflecting a favourable improvement of 1.0 day. The average ship performance at Mombasa Container Terminal registered 410.6 gross moves compared with 401.6 gross moves per day (24 hours) registered in 2013, recording an increase of 9.0 gross moves,” said Gichiri.

Talking about development projects at the port, Capt. Twalib Khamis KPA General Manger Operations said in 2014 they acquired 11 new Reach Stackers, 10 manual spreaders, 12 Terminal Tractors (TTs), and 12 Rubber Tyred Gantries.

“This year, we are expecting 8 Terminal Tractors by April, 3 Ship to Shore Gantry cranes in July and 8 Empty container Handlers by December.”

Source: East African Business Week

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