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Kenya moves to harmonise cargo clearance at sea port

Kenya moves to harmonise cargo clearance at sea port

NAIROBI: The government has harmonised offloading and clearance of imported goods at the port of Mombasa to curb delays. Maritime and Shipping Affairs Principal Secretary, Nancy Karigithu, said the State wants to clear obstructions in clearance of cargo and reduce bureaucracy in handling of ships.

Public and private sector agencies involved in ship, cargo, crew and passenger clearance are to link up with the Single Window System, she said. Procedures and customs, immigration, health and other public authorities’ documents are among those to be streamlined.

“Documentation procedures work best where the paperwork is streamlined for simplicity and efficiency. A large number of unnecessary paperwork and slow documentation processes are a serious danger to our competitiveness as a country and even as a region given the wide geographical coverage of our port users,” the PS said Wednesday. She said the harmonisation process started yesterday.

“We will know how we are going to be getting information on the goods beforehand and it has to be electronic. By the time the ship is arriving in Mombasa all agencies involved in cargo will have information and we will be able to work much faster and release the ship from the port as quickly as possible,” she said.

Speaking at Nyali Sun Africa Hotel in Mombasa, Ms Karigithu said the government will implement the International Maritime Organisation’s (IMO) Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic.

“The convention…will facilitate smooth transit in ports for ships, cargo, crew and passengers,” the PS added.

The move is aimed at making trade through the port of Mombasa and along the northern corridor faster, easier and less costly to traders amid increasing competion from the main port in Dar es Salaam.

“We are moving towards developing our blue economy. We can’t afford the luxury of not being in tandem with international requirement. We have to be ahead of the park,” said Ms Karigithu.