Faster cargo clearance after exit of 24 state agencies

The average dwell-time has reduced from 11-23 days last year to less than six days

In Summary
  • State officers used to demand bribes before clearing suspicious cargo, delaying clearance and causing congestion
  • Both the government and the private sector ensure that business is seamless, smooth and efficient
The port of Mombasa
Image: FILE

Cargo dwell-time has reduced by 73 per cent barely four months after the exit of 24 state agencies from the port of Mombasa, according to Kenya Ports Authority.

The kicked out agencies delayed the clearing of goods through duplication of processes, multiple interventions and personal interests of state officers.

Since June, graft loopholes have been sealed while clearance has been speeded up as the government works towards making Mombasa and other ports competitive.

The biggest beneficiaries are Mombasa Port and Nairobi's Inland Container Depot, where average dwell-time has reduced from between 11 and 23 days last year to less than six days.

KPA managing director Daniel Manduku said on Tuesday that improved efficiency has helped the port reach one million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) with possibilities of surpassing this year's 1.4 million TEUs target.

“We are at a high efficiency level. Today 80 per cent of all cargo leaves before expiry of the four days free storage period, our dwell time average has gone below six days,” Manduku said.

Both the government and private sector work to ensure that business is seamless, smooth and efficient, he said. “This year we are not having a lot of demurrage because of efficiency at the port and ICD, where we are able to evacuate cargo speedily." 

The Revenue Authority and Kenya Bureau of Standards play the lead roles in the inspection and clearance of cargo.

The agencies kicked out were Pharmacy and Poisons Board, AFA Horticultural Crop Directorate, Directorate of Veterinary Services, Kenya Dairy Board, Radiation Protection Board, AFA Sugar Directorate, Pest Control Produce Board, Directorate of Mining, Kenya Wildlife Service and the National Biosafety Authority.

The others are Veterinary Medical Department, AFA Tea Directorate, Central Firearms Bureau, NEMA and AFA Fibre Crop Directorate.

State officers used to demand bribes before clearing “suspicious” cargo, leading to delays and congestion.

“We only have KRA and Kebs. If any other agency wishes to come in they have to apply through an accountability form, where they inform us they are coming in to intervene,” Nicholas Tendwa, KPA's principal operations officer at ICD said.

ICD is directly linked to the Port of Mombasa through the Standard Gauge Railway, which has an average train turnaround time of 7.5 hours having, an improvement from 10 hours.

Between January and July. the port registered a growth of 8.6 per cent in the total throughput from 18.14 million tonnes to 19.69 million tonnes.  The end year projection is 33.5 million tonnes.