TICKING DEADLINE

Bring in your car before December 31 - Kebs

Vehicles registered in 2014 will not be allowed into the country from January 1.

In Summary

•As from January 1, only units registered in 2015 will be allowed entry.

•Second-hand cars dominate the local market accounting for 85 per cent of Kenya's car purchases, with an annual import of up to 90,000 units.

Imported used cars parked at a yard in Mombasa/
Imported used cars parked at a yard in Mombasa/
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

Individuals and dealers importing 2014 registered cars have less than two months to ensure their imports are cleared at Kenyan ports or be locked out.

The country's standards on motor vehicle age limit locks out units older than eight years, and yesterday the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) called for compliance through a public notice.

Second-hand cars dominate the local market accounting for 85 per cent of Kenya's car purchases, with an annual import of up to 90,000 units.

About 80 per cent of imports are from Japan with other markets being United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Singapore and South Africa.

Kebs is mandated to offer among other services, quality inspection of imports based on Kenya standards or approved specifications.

As from January 1, only units registered in 2015 will be allowed entry.

“We wish to notify all importers of second hand motor vehicles and the general public that in observance of the eight year age limit requirement, only Right Hand Drive motor vehicles whose year of first registration is from January 1, 2015 and later shall be allowed into the country,"Kebs MD Bernard Njiraini said.

This is effective January 1, 2022.

It includes units being shipped home by returning residents and diplomatic staff.

Vehicles exported to Kenya shall be expected to comply with the Kenya Code of Practice for Inspection of road vehicle while vehicles from countries where Kebs has an inspection agency, that is Japan, UAE, UK, Thailand and South Africa, shall be accompanied with a Certificate of Roadworthiness (CoR).

This is issued by Quality Inspection Services Inc. Japan (QIST), an inspection company contracted by Kebs.

According to the standards body, CoR for vehicles whose first year of registration is 2014 will not be valid from December 31. All vehicles issued with such certificates must arrive at the port of entry by December 31.

“Any vehicles registered in 2014 or earlier arriving after December 31, 2021 will be deemed not compliant and shall be rejected at the importers expense,” Njiraini said.

This means an importer can be forced to ship-back the unit at their own cost or the vehicle is disposed.

There is currently a rush to beat the deadline with by both commercial and individual used car importers based on the high number of ships docking at the Port of Mombasa.

There are at least eight of them scheduled to call at Mombasa between tomorrow (November 12) and November 22, with more expected to come in, onward into December.

Tow of these are expected to dock tomorrow.

Modern ships have nine internal decks and are capable of carrying up to 6,000 cars per sailing.

The numbers coming to Mombasa are however based on orders, where more units are imported towards the end of the year when those that are eight years are cheaper.

Discharges vary from between 2,000 and 3,000 units per vessel meaning Friday could see more than 3,000 units driven off the two RoRos.

According to the Car Importers Association of Kenya (CIAK), monthly average imports increased to above 10,000 units from September with November expected to record up to 13,000 units or more.

Normal average monthly import is 9,000 units.

During this time, people are rushing to bring in their cars to beat the eight year rule,” CIAK national chairman, Peter Otieno told the Star in a telephone interview yesterday,“ They want to have the units arrive and get registered before the deadline.”

The Kenyan Standard was set by the Motor Vehicle Components and Accessories Technical Committee under the guidance of the Mechanical Industry Standards Committee, and it is in accordance with the procedures of Kenya Bureau of Standards.

According to Kebs, the standard was found necessary to regulate the quality and condition of road vehicles for safety, environmental and economic reasons.

In 2014, more than 2,000 used motor vehicles registered in 2006 were locked out of the country, leading to losses of millions of shillings by dealers and individuals.