CS Salim Mvurya asks agency to start clearing state cargo at the port

Cabinet Secretary for Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs Cabinet Secretary Salim Mvurya (left) and Kenya National Shipping Line Director General Joseph Juma during CS Mvurya's tour at their offices in Mombasa County on Friday 31st march 2023. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

The government has directed Kenya National Shipping Lines (KNSL) to take over Government Clearing Agency (GCA) and ensure it clears all government cargo at the port of Mombasa.

Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs Cabinet Secretary Salim Mvurya told KNSL to immediately start using GCA to clear government-imported fertilizer at the port.

Speaking at the KNSL located on Moi Avenue in Mombasa county over the weekend, Mvurya told the agency to collect import charges currently being done by private clearing and forwarding firms.

GCA, which had been under the National Treasury for many years, was last year moved to KNLS under Mvurya's docket.

"Since you have taken over the Government Clearing Agency, you are also free to start clearing fertilizer and other goods being imported through Mombasa port," directed Mvurya.

The CS also toured other government agencies under his ministry in Mombasa, including Kenya Maritime Authority.

He challenged KNLS management to come up, with ideas on how it can create jobs for the youths in line with the Kenya Kwanza administration agenda.

"We have a lot of potential in the Indian Ocean and lake waters, which if properly tapped, we can create many jobs for the youths," Mvurya said.

The CS, who was accompanied by Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) chairman Hamisi Mwaguya, asked KNSL director general Joseph Juma, to start restructuring the agency and ensure more staff are deployed to the corporation to strengthen it.

"You should liaise with the Public Service Commission to deploy some staff to the agency and start clearing government goods without delay," said Mvurya.

He told KNSL to develop ideas on how the shipping line can own a ship, as is the case with other countries such as Ethiopia and Togo despite being landlocked nations.

The CS directed KMA chairman Mwaguya to ensure the authority staff move into the building by June 30, this year.

Mvurya was accompanied by Chief Administrative Secretaries Fred Outa and Kipkorir Kiplagat.

He said the storey building would house several government agencies aligned with his ministry and cut down the cost of operation. The CS advised KMA management to develop measures to enable the vessels sailing in the Indian Ocean and the lakes to comply with safety regulations.

"As a major player in maritime affairs, you must come up with safety measures to ensure those on board vessels are safe," said Mvurya.

Juma said the line required more funding to discharge new mandates, including clearing government cargo, recruitment of seafarers and collection of revenue.