Workers offload fertilizer imported at the Port of Mombasa. [File, Standard] 

Cargo heading to South Sudan is piling up at the Port of Mombasa due to a dispute over a new mandatory tax.

This is after Kenya customs agents rejected the electronic cargo tracking note (ECTN) introduced by the South Sudan Revenue Authority Commission last week. 

Yesterday, Kenya International Freight and Warehouse Association (KIFWA) said the new levy has led to the delay in the clearing of cargo destined for South Sudan and could lead to congestion at the Port of Mombasa.

KIFWA chairman Roy Mwanthi said since its introduction, more than 1,000 containers destined for South Sudan are lying at the port.

Mwanthi said the local customs agents were being forced to collect the prerequisite service charges of Sh46,375 ($350) on behalf of the South Sudan Revenue Authority. He insisted that his members had declined to implement the order because it was against Kenyan laws.

The clearing and forwarding agents were reacting to South Sudan Commissioner  for Custom Division Brigader General Aduot Ajang Aduot's notice dated March 1 this year to clearing agencies.

The notice says; “I am honored to introduce to you an initiative by the government of South Sudan to roll out to a mandatory Electronic Cargo Tracking Note (ECTN) for all imports to South Sudan and exports from South Sudan.

“Following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Government of South Sudan through the Ministry of Finance and Planning and Invesco Uganda Limited, an Electronic Cargo Tracking Note will be mandatory for all goods destined to South Sudan and all goods leaving South Sudan with immediate effect,” said part of the notice.

All clearing agencies have been instructed to enforce these regulations through partner Invesco Uganda company to ensure that goods comply with the new regulation.

"Therefore, all importers and exporters must comply and in addition, pay the mandatory service charge of 350 us dollars accordingly,” states part of the notice.