•December 31, is the last day for 2012 manufactured vehicles to be cleared into the country under the age limit rule, meaning importers only have two weeks left.
•The country imports about 130,000 second-hand vehicles annually, with used cars enjoying 85 per cent of market share.
A record 10 ships carrying motor vehicle are expected to dock at the Port of Mombasa in the next eleven days, reflecting a rush to beat the eight-year rule.
The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) 14-day list , which shows vessels expected at the Port in the next two weeks, reflects a high number of conventional vessels where vehicles are commanding a sizable share of arrivals.
One of the vessels-Cattleya Ace arrived in the country on Wednesday(DEcember 18).
Five vessels namely Thruxton, Euro Spirit, Galaxy Ace, Jolly Perla and Hoegh Osaka are expected to dock on December 20.
Other vessels include Leo Leader which is expected to arrive on December 22, Morning Pilot(December 23), Morning Ninni (December 27) and Grand Diamond which is expected in the country on December 28. All these are carrying motor vehicles.
“Importers and shipping lines are rushing 2012 units that are supposed to land in Mombasa by December 31,”Kenya Auto Bazaar Association chairman John Kipchumba said.
He further noted there is a rush to bring in the 2013 models before the onset of next year, to capture the existing market that is looking forward to purchase units compliant with the rule that bars vehicles more than eight years old from Kenya.
“They(importers) want to make sure that 2013 units are available in the market both at the Port of Mombasa and upcountry.
December 31, is the last day for 2012 manufactured vehicles to be cleared into the country under the age limit rule, meaning importers only have two weeks left.
Car importers had on November 28 projected monthly imports could hit a high of 20,000 in December, based on last-minute orders.
“Normally between now and December, vehicles coming in are not less than thirteen thousand. It can go up to 15, 000 units,” CIAK chairman Peter Otieno said in a telephone interview.
Compared to the average 3,000 to 4,000 units between January and March, December has traditionally attracted huge numbers of vehicles.
“We expect the port to be busy in the next one to two weeks,” Kipchumba said.
The high numbers however come amid a slow uptake (purchase) of used cars in the Kenyan market, blamed on low liquidity in the wake of tough economic times.
“ The market is not doing well compared to last year. Sales are low,” Kipchumba said.
“There is a liquidity problem. Cash started disappearing in June and what we have witnessed this year is low sales,” he added.
The country imports about 130,000 second-hand vehicles annually, with used cars enjoying 85 per cent of market share, where an estimated Sh60 billion is spent on these units annually.
The government has been pushing for local car manufacturing despite sector players warning that the local market will not meet the demand.
The Economic Survey 2019 shows new registration of motor vehicles increased to 102,036 units in 2018 from 91,071 units in 2017.