KRA to auction overstayed cargo, cars


Cargo at the Inland Container Depot in Embakasi Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) will auction more than 300 lots of overstayed containers and vehicles at the Port of Mombasa and the Inland Container Depot in Nairobi as it moves to rid the hubs of unclaimed goods.

Customs Warehouse Lists compiled on a public notice identified 74 lots of assorted commodities at the ICD in Embakasi and its peripheral storage facilities (PSFs) that were leased to accommodate overstayed cargo while 286 lots were identified in Mombasa for the auction.

KRA has set auction for this week and interested bidders have been invited to view the goods with the full details being listed in a public notice published on the taxman’s website. Logistics for the auction are meant to ensure that the exercise runs smoothly at different storage facilities leased for storage of goods that have stayed for more than 21 days.

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has leased a number of PSFs which include Mitchell Cotts, Nairobi Inland Container Terminal (NICT), Regional Logistics and Makongeni. Data shows that by the end of January, the four PSFs were holding 1,742 unclaimed Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs).

According to the customs warehouse lists, consolidated cargo comprises the majority of lots slated for auction, which are linked to small traders who import using proxies who pose as clearing agents and either swindle them or take long before paying the requisite fees to clear their cargo.

Other importers who will lose their cargo through auction are those who first import the goods and then look for financing to clear them and pay duties, which may backfire when the demurrage charges accrue to an unmanageable level.

Importers have also blamed the high storage charges due to delays in clearing cargo through the ICD in Nairobi, which industry players have blamed on both the partner government agencies involved in clearing goods as well as clearing agents and importers who delay in lodging clearance documents.

The status report of the ICD for the week ending February 12 indicated that only 48 percent of the goods did not attract storage charges at the facility.

Those cleared in 5-10 days stood at six percent while 22 percent of the goods was cleared between 11-21 days. About 14 percent of the goods were cleared after 21 days, meaning that the cargo attracted both storage charges as well as Custom Warehouse Rent (CWR).

According to the Shippers Council of Eastern Africa(SCEA), government procedures and system failures continue to choke performances at the Port of Mombasa and ICDN, which has seen importers pay Sh3.324 billion in demurrages.

Inefficiencies caused by government agencies and system hitches account for 31 percent of lead factor for port dwell time with a total of 54 percent of clearance time being spent on securing permits.

As KPA continues to automate its services to improve its efficiency, lack of streamlining its network has caused delays in cargo clearance due to system failure or problems associated with system users resulting to more than 50 percent of cargo at the ICDN not being cleared within the set free period.