Efforts to fully automate cargo clearance procedures at the port of Mombasa are laudable and should be expedited to boost the country’s competitiveness.
The performance of the gateway directly reflects on the economy because it influences factors such as pricing of basic import and export goods. An inefficient port means high cost of doing business and we should never walk that path if we still dream of attaining growth.
Automation has two benefits that come with it. One, the flow of work is fastened because of the efficient nature of ICT platforms that eliminate the frustrations and delays caused by manual operations. Secondly, automation reduces human contact, which has been blamed for corruption in most public offices and establishments.
Graft increases the cost of doing business and curbing it works for the good of everyone in the entire supply chain. Although the concept is good, we must exercise caution to ensure it is fully implemented. Previous attempts to automate processes at the port of Mombasa have been met with resistance and even sabotage.
Corrupt cartels thrive best in disorderly environments and would naturally sabotage any attempts to have an organised system. We must not give the cartels to thrive.
We must also appreciate the fact that having an automated system is not enough, both its handlers and users must be committed to it and its objectives. An online platform can be manipulated if there is no goodwill from these two groups.