New system to slash cargo clearance time at Mombasa port, other points


A section of the Berth 20, that is under construction at the Port of Mombasa. Kenya’s ultimate aim is to secure a geostrategic position as the key access to the Indian Ocean to serve the economic zone straddling the Nile Basin countries.
A section of the Berth 20, that is under construction at the Port of Mombasa. Kenya’s ultimate aim is to secure a geostrategic position as the key access to the Indian Ocean to serve the economic zone straddling the Nile Basin countries.   

Nine government agencies involved in cargo clearance at theKenyan port of Mombasa have until December 31 to migrate to the Single Electronic Window System before its full rollout.

Starting January 1, all trade transactions involving the agencies — including applications for permits, as well as payment and collection of taxes, fees, duties and levies needed in cross-border transactions — will henceforth be made through the new system.

According to Alex Kabuga, the chief executive officer of the Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade) — a state corporation set up to implement, operationalise and manage the National Electronic Single Window System — so far, 15 agencies are on board and are using the system but nine others are yet to join.

“The target is to have all the 24 government agencies involved in cargo clearance at the port and border posts integrated with the single window by December 2014, which is in line with the Port Charter,” said Mr Kabuga.

READ: New Mombasa port charter to ease operations

“The target is to have the configuration and training for these agencies completed in time for it to go live by January 2015 alongside all other government agencies.”

The Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Authority; Kenya Maritime Authority; Postal Corporation of Kenya; Anti-Counterfeit Agency; Kenya Police Service; Kenya National Chamber of Commerce & Industry; and the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Authority are yet to migrate to the electronic system.

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Kenya Bureau of Standards, Pharmacy and Poisons Board, Port Health and the Horticultural Crops Development Authority are already integrated in the system.

Launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta on May 2, the Single Electronic Window System is expected to facilitate international and domestic trade at the port. It has been touted as the solution to the persistent delays at the major gateway to the region.

The system will allow parties involved in trade and transport to lodge standardised information and documents at a single entry point. That is expected to reduce the time it takes to process goods through Customs at the port by half — from seven days to three.

READ: Cargo clearance system to save $150m

Clearance time to fall

At the country’s airports, cargo clearance time will fall to just one day from five while at border posts it will take an hour instead of two days, sponsors of the $18 million project said.

According to Mr Kabuga, since its launch, there has been a 40 per cent increase in trader and company compliance levels and this is expected to go up to 80 per cent by June next year.

Mr Kabuga said efforts spearheaded by the East African Community Secretariat are under way to have a regional electronic single window system that will be integrated into the EAC Single Customs Territory (SCT). A technical working group has been formed to work on the concept, he said.