By Silvia Nyambura
The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has warned Ugandan shippers that overstayed cargo at the Mombasa Port will be auctioned or destroyed after 30 days. According to the authority’s MD Gichiri Ndua, KPA had given a 60 day waiver in which little response has been made.
“We recently gave a 60 day waiver for shippers to clear their goods but the response in regard to collection has so far not been very good. After 15th April there will be no further waiver and the cargo will be cleared by auctioning or destruction. Overstayed cargo is left mostly by first time importers who do not make proper financial arrangements prior to the arrival of their goods,” he said adding, “We are conducting awareness campaigns to sensitize people on the need to make proper arrangement especially financially so as to clear their goods promptly.”
Ndua who was speaking at a stakeholder meeting in Kampala yesterday noted an efficient Port should have ample yard space all the time to afford flexible shore handling operations.
“This prime space can only be made available consistently when customers are equally ready to remove their containers from the Port immediately they land or within the allowed free stay period. Unfortunately this ideal practice is not always the scenario on the ground. As of 4th March 2015, there were 2435 Containers (3464 TEUs) for Uganda customers that have been at the Port beyond 21 days. Actually of this number, 293 Units (393 TEUs) have been in the Port for more than three months,” he explained.
During the meeting the authority also revealed in the past year, total throughput at the port had grown by 11.5% from 22.307 million tons in 2013 to 24.875 million in 2014. Container traffic increased by 13.2% from 894,000 TEUs to 1,012,002 TEUs in the same period.
“In terms of transit traffic we recorded total of 7.2 million tons in 2014 against 6.7 million tons realized in the corresponding period in 2013, representing a volume increase of 490,000 tons or 7.3 per cent. This was as a result of increased handling of Ugandan cargo by 609,830 tons or 12.4 per cent. Uganda continued to maintain a dominant position as the leading transit cargo destination, accounting for 76.7 per cent share of the total transit traffic. The overall growth for Uganda traffic was 610,000 tons or 12.4 per cent, up from 4.9 million tons in 2013 to 5.5 million tons in 2014. While imports increased by 13.8 per cent, exports on the other hand recorded a 3.6 per cent decrease,” said Ndua.
Ugandan importers continue to raise issues over delays owing to the numerous weigh bridges between Mombasa and the Malaba border as well as the slow pace of port accounts registration. Information flow has also proved a major challenge despite KPA having a liaison office in Kampala. KPA maintains most of these issues have however been addressed
“As I have already mentioned, Uganda remains our top transit user. I wish to re-assure that we sincerely cherish the business support, and that we are always ready to do everything within our means and authority to grow the relationship,” he concluded.
Nyambura is a senior journalist based in Kampala