Shipping & Logistics

New industry standards to ease clearance of cargo

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Cargo awaits clearance at the port of Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | NMG

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Summary

  • The Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will provide a one-stop reference for all government agencies that inspect, verify and clear imports.
  • KAM says SOPs will also tame illicit trade whose proliferation has partly been blamed on lack of harmonised standards.

The cost and dwell-time for cargo clearance at Kenya’s ports of entry are set to drop under new standards to boost efficiency.

The Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) will provide a one-stop reference for all government agencies that inspect, verify and clear imports.

The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) said SOPs will also tame illicit trade whose proliferation has partly been blamed on lack of harmonised standards.

“The implementation of these SOPs will assist to increase efficiency and accountability at the ports of entry whilst cutting down on costs and time involved in the importation process,’ said KAM chairman Mucai Kunyiha.

The SOPs will identify gaps and overlaps in the processes of clearance agencies which can be standardised and harmonised, while ensuring conformity is adhered to.

Some of the 29 clearance agencies at the port and border points include the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), national Intelligence Service (NIS), Pharmacy & Poisons Board and Radiation Protection Board.

Kenya lost Sh103 billion in revenue from illicit trade in 2018 despite renewed efforts to curb the vice, according to a recent survey.

The National Baseline Survey on counterfeit and other forms of illicit trade in Kenya by the Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA) shows that the loss in revenue increased by 1.7 percent from Sh101.23 billion in 2017.

Kenya’s port performance has been ranked comparatively low to other countries in terms of efficiency, speed, predictability and simplicity in its clearance processes.

Due to inefficiencies at the port, freight charges represent 35 to 40 percent of regional import values, compared to eight percent in European and Chinese Ports.

“These SOPs will provide information to perform a job properly and consistently to achieve pre-determined specification and a quality end-result,’ said Industrialisation Principal Secretary Betty Maina.

The KAM has also published The Enforcement Manual, which serves as a quick reference point on matters illicit trade including protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights and the Practitioners Guide for Enforcement Officers on Combating Illicit Trade.

The manual is in use as a reference that highlights the various forms of illicit trade, the related laws and the procedures for the investigation and prosecution of illicit trade.