Opinion and Analysis
Address traders’ concerns over the auction of goods
Posted Sunday, August 19 2012 at 17:06
Even as the Kenya Ports Authority management moves to clear overstayed cargo at the port of Mombasa, there are some quarters that have now called for the review of its auction process.
According to the Ugandan government, some of its traders have lost their goods after the ports authority allegedly auctioned them without their knowledge and that this was hurting its businesses.
While the exercise to clear congestion at the facility is quite noble and long overdue, we note that it is bound to encounter various hurdles. The accusations made by the Ugandan government are very serious and should not be ignored.
However, we should note that the KPA management had announced in February that it had reduced the period of free storage of imported containers at the port following the lapse of a 100-day moratorium for importers to clear their goods.
The move was aimed at encouraging cargo owners to take advantage of the lowered storage fees to clear their goods.
However, some importers did not do so. Notices had been issued that any cargo not cleared within the stipulated time would be auctioned as per the law.
The port management has the huge task of ensuring that congestion at the facility is totally eradicated.
Previously, when the port was clogged with uncleared containers, it used to take ages to process goods at the port.
But since the auction exercise started, congestion has eased and KPA data shows that in July, the number of containers at the ports had fallen to 13,600 20-foot container units from 20,700 early this year.
This is a commendable improvement as the port’s capacity is 18,500 units.
We urge the management to address the issues raised by the Ugandan government as the facility also serves as an entry point to the eastern Africa region. We also call upon the Kampala authorities to provide the KPA officials with proof of what it calls an illegal and unethical exercise.
What everyone should acknowledge is that congestion at the port has eased and the numerous complaints about inefficiency caused by uncleared cargo have largely subsided.