DEADLINE NEARS

More car carrying vessels dock in Mombasa ahead of 8-year rule deadline

Seven ships are expected between today and next Friday with 6,000 units.

In Summary

•The deadline for importing units manufactured or first registered in 2014 is December 31.

•This is under the eight-year rule which locks out older cars.

Imported used vehicles parked at a yard in Mombasa/ JOHN CHESOLI
Imported used vehicles parked at a yard in Mombasa/ JOHN CHESOLI

The rush to beat the eight-year rule on used cars has seen a surge of vessels docking at the Port of Mombasa, as importers rush to avoid to have their units locked out.

Individual importers and dealers have less than three weeks to ensure any 2014 manufactured units are in the country, failure to which they will be denied entry.

This is under Kenya's eight - year rule where starting January 1, only vehicles first registered in 2015 will be allowed into the country.

The deadline for importing units manufactured or first registered in 2014 is December 31.

“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 says in a public notice.

There are seven vessels expected to dock at the Port of Mombasa between today and next Friday, Kenya Ports Authority schedule shows.

The special vessels designed to ship wheeled cargo, such as cars, trucks, semi-trailer trucks, trailers, and railroad cars, have a carrying capacity of 6,000 units, for small cars.

Those calling at the Mombasa port however come in with between 1,000 and average 2,000 units, meaning at least 10,000 units will be discharged in the next two weeks.

There has been a surge in the number of used vehicles being discharged at the port since October, as importers rush to beat the deadline, the Car Importers Association of Kenya (CIAK) says.

Monthly imports increased to above 10,000 units, from a normal average of 7,000-9,000 car importers note, with November seeing an upward of above 13,000 units.

We normally advise our members to try and make sure that the units arrive before deadline such that if any comes late then it's the delay from the shipping line,” CIAK national chairman, Peter Otieno, told the Star in a telephone interview yesterday.

More than 80 per cent of the cars on Kenyan roads are used cars in Japan that are sold at cheaper prices averaging Sh300,000. Annual import stand at around 90,000 units.

Taxation and shipping of these units however pushes the prices to an average Sh800,000 for low capacity small units and up to Sh2 million and above for bigger engines.

Majority average slightly above Sh1 million compared to the price of locally assembled vehicles, where the minimum price is about Sh1.5 million.

This has made Kenyans to prefer importing used vehicles from Japan, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Singapore and South Africa.

There is however a push by the East African Community (EAC) to slash the age limit for imported cars into the region to five years, to promote local assembling of vehicles.

This will make it more expensive to buy a used imported car.

Tanzania has in the past had no restriction but recently placed a limit of 10 years. Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan do not have limits.

On average, cars in the region are between 15 and 20 years old with the used cars highly popular with majority of middle-income Kenyans, with car loans common in financial institutions and car dealers.