LOGISTICS

Relief for SMES as Uhuru launches Nairobi container shed

Small traders will now not pay the standard $1000 (Sh109,000) container deposits.

In Summary

•Cargo for the SMES will be transported from the Port of Mombasa to ICDN, Embakasi, and later transshipped to the transit shed using Metre Gauge Railway.

•At the shed, consolidated cargo will be stripped from containers and stored in customs shed.

Containers at the Embakasi ICD /PATRICK VIDIJA
Containers at the Embakasi ICD /PATRICK VIDIJA

 Small traders in Nairobi have been saved from the hustle of collecting goods at the Embakasi container depot, with the launch of a freight station near the Central Business District.

President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday commissioned the Container Freight Station (CFS)-Kenya Railways Corporation Transit Shed, near its Nairobi Central Station.

The initiative is in conjunction with the the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

The shed known as ‘Boma line’ is part of efforts to facilitate and enhance ease of doing business and is expected to cut the cost of doing business for small traders.

 

President Kenyatta said  the launch of the facility forms part of the government's efforts in ensuring traders have an equal opportunity to operate in the country.

Small traders will now not pay the standard $1,000 (Sh109,000) container deposits, which the President said will subsequently reduce the cost of doing business.

National Treasury CS Ukur Yatani said the facility will serve traders in Nairobi and its environs while facilitating easy access of their goods.

He said small traders will not be required to travel to the Inland Container Depot (ICDN) Embakasi to collect their goods.

“Establishment of the Boma line is part of initiatives to bring services closer to taxpayers and facilitate them to conduct their business effectively and efficiently,"Yatani said.

Cargo for the SMES will be transported from the Port of Mombasa to ICDN, Embakasi, and later trans-shipped to the transit shed using Metre Gauge Railway (MGR).

At the shed, consolidated cargo will be stripped from containers and stored in customs shed.

They will be arranged according to their nature with marking for easy tracking and identification.

 

The verification by customs officers and other government agencies will be done on specific single goods as opposed to the typical verification of a whole container.

This will simplify verification process and reduce the time taken in clearing cargo.

Traders with goods of customs value of $10,000 (Sh1 million) or less will now be allowed to make an import declaration on a simplified mobile App or a direct assessment entry, while those with goods of customs value above Sh1 million will clear through a registered clearing agent in the customs system.

KRA Commissioner General Githii Mburu said plans are underway to progressively increase additional warehouses as volume of trade increases and also train traders on how to clear cargo without the assistance of clearing agents. 

“Adoption of technology in our key operations as a revenue authority has made it easier for taxpayers to access our services hence elimination of intervention from third parties," Mburu said.

The transit shed is expected to serve approximately 7,500 small traders in Nairobi and its environs and will accommodate approximately 100-40 foot containers per month, raking in an approximate Sh110 million in revenue.

The number of containers being cleared at the facility is later expected to increase to approximately 300 containers per month during the post Covid period.

This will create an opportunity for KRA to collect  approximately Sh 1 billion a month from the shed once its operational 24 hours.

It is estimated that there are approximately 7.41 million Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) contributing approximately 30 per cent of the country’s GDP growth.

The facility will compliment the ICDN which has been critical in KRA's revenue basket, with monthly average revenue collection of Sh10.32  billion last year.