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Kenya Launches Maritime Single Window System Operations to Automate, Standardize and Enhance Information Flow at The Port of Mombasa

…Implementation of the Maritime Single Window makes Kenya compliant with the Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL) Convention …

Mombasa Kenya July 7, 2021 – The maritime stakeholders in Kenya will benefit from enhanced efficiency at the Port of Mombasa following the launch of the Maritime Single Window System (MSWS). The system will facilitate end-to-end information flow between the Shipping Agents, Port Authority, as well as other government agencies. The MSWS which was officially launched on July 07, 2021, in Mombasa by the Cabinet Secretary, The National Treasury & Planning Hon. Ambassador Ukur Yatani was developed jointly by Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade) and the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) with financial support from UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) and Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) through TradeMark Africa (TMA). The Project now makes Kenya compliant with the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Facilitation of International Maritime (FAL) Convention.

The FAL Convention contains standards, recommended practices and rules for simplifying formalities, documentary requirements and procedures on ships’ arrival, stay and departure and recommends the use of the “single window” concept in which all the agencies and authorities involved in ship and passenger clearance exchange data via a single point of contact.

The MSWS which has been developed by CrimsonLogic, has been integrated with KenTrade’s Single Window System (Kenya TradeNet) which covers the vessel arrival and departure process of both cargo and non-cargo vessels, facilitates the processing of all associated documentation for a quicker turnaround time in handling maritime traffic. This translates to reduced cost in processing cargo and non-cargo vessels.

The integration entails enhancing the Kenya TradeNet System by adding a module – Electronic Maritime Single Window System (E-MSWS) Module. It goes above and beyond by providing value-added services, such as request for pilotage, tug, waste disposal, and so on, replacing the tedious over-the-counter operations that require physical visits.

The E-MSWS allows Shipping Agents in Kenya to electronically submit vessel pre-arrival and pre-departure FAL declarations to government agencies mainly, Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA), Kenya Revenue  Authority  (KRA),  State  Department  of  Immigration,  Port  Health,  National  Environment

Management Authority (NEMA), Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) and the Kenya Coast Guard Service.

Presiding over the launch, The National Treasury Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Ukur Yatani said implementation of the Maritime Single Window System is part of the Government’s initiative to facilitate trade in line with the IMO FAL which makes it mandatory for Governments to introduce electronic information exchange between ships and ports with the aim of making cross-border trade simpler and the logistics chain more efficient. “Kenya is among the 120 member states that have ratified the International Maritime Organization Convention on Facilitation of Maritime Traffic commonly referred to as FAL Convention, which aims at promoting measures to bring about uniformity and simplicity in documenting requirements and procedures associated with the arrival, stay and departure of ships engaged in international voyages.” said the Cabinet Secretary.

Speaking during the launch, Principal Secretary, State Department for Shipping and Maritime Affairs, Nancy Karigithu noted that as a member of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), Kenya has signed 26 conventions that have been domesticated through the Merchant Shipping Act, 2009 which is proof of Kenya’s desire to grow its maritime sector and compete with global maritime nations. She added that the Kenya MSWS will address the main issue of numerous, non-harmonised reporting obligations in a more coordinated and efficient way, and improve inter operational tasks between various systems, making it much easier to share and re-use data.

According to the Kenya Maritime Authority Director General Robert Njue, MSWS will enhance greater transparency and provide efficient end-to-end information flow for the Government Agency officers to better ensure the safety of arriving and departing vessels, and their cargo. For ship operators or Agents, the Maritime Single Window System also helps with post docking and pre-departure operational needs to ensure they can be on schedule for their next leg of the journey. “The FAL /IMO initiatives are designed to simplify cross-border trade, reduce the administrative burden and create a more efficient logistics chain and that is the fundamental reason we have developed the MSWS’’ explained the Director General

“The recent Suez Canal incident has showed how vulnerable our global supply-chain can be. Kenya is currently one of the fastest growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, and we cannot be complacent in our digital transformation journey,” said KenTrade Chief Executive Officer, Amos Wangora “It is important to continuously innovate, and the MSWS is one such innovation that we are able to partner with the Kenya Maritime Authority and Crimson Logic to ensure marine waterways and operations stay efficient and safe for our stakeholders.” Wangora said. He added that the development of the Maritime Single Window System in Kenya was driven by the need to simplify the administrative burden for ships entering and leaving the Port of Mombasa. “The current reporting requirements are extremely onerous and due to elements of overlapping legislations there is often a need to submit similar information to different authorities in different formats’’ he said.

TradeMark Africa, Country Director Mr. Ahmed Farah said, “Reducing barriers to trade in Kenya so as to increase its trading opportunities internationally remains a key mandate for TMA. We are proud to have supported KenTrade and Kenya Maritime Authority to develop the MSWS. The system will enhance trade facilitation for the maritime stakeholders and enable faster operational procedures and shorter process time, leading to increased transit traffic through the Port of Mombasa and reduced trade costs overall. MSWS complements TMA’s other work with government agencies including improving roads, the port, border posts and automation of key trade processes. Ultimately, these interventions will create a conducive business environment in Kenya, promoting job creation and reducing poverty’’ said Ahmed.

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