Port of Mombasa told to adopt 24-hour schedule

From left: Kenya Ports Authority Managing Director William Ruto, KPA Chairman Benjamin Tayari, Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen, Mining CS Salim Mvurya (right) and other leaders during a consultative meeting at KPA in Mombasa. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

The Port of Mombasa will immediately embrace 24-hour full operations to eliminate delays in the clearance of cargo.

A meeting of multiagency team held in Mombasa on Friday resolved that the government will also integrate cargo processing systems, increase the number of cargo scanners and streamline trade to ensure efficiency.

The move is targeted at increasing export cargo through the port of Mombasa following many years of focus on import cargo.

The meeting co-chaired by Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen and his Investment, Trade, and Industry counterpart Moses Kuria also agreed that all players at the port will have to be operational for 24 hours.

"All government agencies involved in port operations as well as exporters will undertake to achieve 24-hour port operations," said the statement read by the two CSs after the lengthy meeting.

They directed other agencies, including Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), to open their offices at the port for 24 hours to ensure the success of the new working schedule.

KRA was also directed to open offices in Tanzania to facilitate trade for both countries as Tanzania and Uganda already have offices in Kenya.

They resolved to simplify export licenses and synchronise government agencies approvals to speed up port and boarder operations.

The multi-agency team also resolved to work with the Judiciary to ensure that all long-stay containers are removed from the port.

The meeting was also attended by Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) chairman Benjamin Tayari, Managing Director Captain William Ruto, KRA chairman Anthony Mwaura and Kenya Bureau of Standards chairman Dr Jeremiah Kinyua.

It was resolved that KPA and KRA will not accept containers into the port if not declared and logged into the iCMS customs system and Kilindini Waterfront Automated Terminal Operations System (KWATOS) at the point of acceptance.

"Declaration into these systems must be made at the point of acceptance and approval granted," they said.

It was also resolved that perishable goods verification by regulatory agencies such as Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services (KEPHIS), Port Health and Horticultural Crops Development Authority (HCDA) should be done at the point of loading and permit approvals granted in the single window system to facilitate track and tracing mechanism.

KPA will communicate and enforce 24- an hour cut-off acceptance time for fresh produce exporters.

The Government will consider options of increasing scanners and equipment including outsourcing to enable its agencies to focus on world-class service delivery.

"As part of enhancing government agencies collaboration, port users community will be expanded to include exporters, and Ministry Investments, Trade and Industry (MITI)," they noted.

KRA will fast track inclusion of other agencies in the operationalisation of the authorised economic operators and pre-arrival processing of the cargo framework to enable faster cargo clearance at the ports.

MITI and KRA will re-look at the green channel requirements for exporters with a view to encouraging compliance to ease exports and facilitate trade. "It was agreed that a reporting and escalation framework mechanism will be worked on between KPA and MITI in the KWATOs system," said the statement.