Pre cargo clearance to boost port efficiency

A general view of the commissioned berth No. 19 at Kilindini Port in Kenyan's coastal town ...

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has begun a trial run of the pre arrival cargo clearance system at the port of Mombasa.

The system is expected to cut down on storage charges and ultimately lower importation costs.

Shippers and importers will be able to lodge documents and pay duties for cargo before arrival, enable faster movement of goods.

Speaking during a meeting with shippers in Mombasa, KRA Commissioner General John Njiraini said the system would save time and lower costs associated with congestion at the port.

“It’s a very important step in our quest to continuously make Mombasa port more attractive and of course reduce the cost of doing business for investors,” Mr Njiraini said

Using the pre arrival cargo clearance system, KRA’s customs department will be able to department speed up cargo clearance, with the slow exercise often attributed to inspection at the port of Mombasa.

The system is part of reforms meant to make the port of Mombasa more competitive in the wake of competition from neighboring Tanzania.

Kenya Ship Agents Association Chief Executive Officer Juma Tella said pre cargo clearance would offer an incentive to shipping companies that have been avoiding the port over slow clearance of cargo.

“Shipping lines can now lodge their entries without the involvement of clearing agents and the issue of transshipment bonds is no more. That in itself will be a very big incentive in attracting shipping lines that have avoided the Mombasa port,” Mr Tella said.

Inbound cargo will be covered by a maritime document issued by the shipper at the loading port providing information including its flows to destination country.

The document includes details of the shipper, description of the cargo including its value, country of origin, weight, freight rate and other additional charges.

KRA will be able to calculate the value of duty from the inbound cargo, beginning the clearance process even before the ship docks at the port.

The taxman expects to have 70 percent of cargo to Kenya to be pre cleared by the end of 2017.

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Story By Abalon Babisho
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