The push by the nine private vendors to continue supplying seals to all domestic and transit cargo has borne fruit after the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) allowed them to temporarily continue offering the services to decongest port facilities.
This followed last week’s three-day standoff at the Port of Mombasa.
The KRA management gave the vendors a temporary window to continue providing containers with the seals after importers and transporters staged protest over what they considered premature introduction of the new Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking Seals (RECTS).
The port players accused the KRA of lack of adequate staff and seals for the cargo, leading to a standoff at the port of Mombasa for a number of days before the taxman gave in.
Since Wednesday last week, no truck was allowed to leave Mombasa port without being armed with RECTS after taxman made it mandatory since the beginning of this month.
The nine private firm vendors which will continue offering the services include SGS Kenya Limited, I Spy Africa Limited, Rivercross Tracking Limited, Automated Logistics Company Limited, Navisat Telematics, Borderless Tracking, Track & Trace Limited, Oak and Gold Limited and Soltic/Techno brain.
KRA Commissioner, Customs & Border Control Kevin Safari acknowledged the congestion and said the KRA has procured 8600 seals for use by cargo transporters and 4,000 seals for use by tankers transporting transit petroleum and ethanol. Mr Safari said the seals are ready and in use by cargo transporters and tankers transporting transit petroleum and ethanol.
“The KRA would like to assure key stakeholders that we shall work round the clock to clear any backlog of waiting transports. The seals are offered to stakeholders free of charge under KRA RECTS initiative,” said Mr Safari.
According to sources within the KRA, the standoff was artificial since the private vendors — who have been offering the service at a fee — were just unhappy with having to get out of the business.
Last week, the KRA in a public notice announced that no containerised cargo will leave the port without RECTS which is replacing the existing manual Electronic Cargo Tracking System (ECTS).
The taxman in the notice said the new electronic system is in line with the East African Community Management Act (EACCMA) 2004 and it will enable real-time tracking of transit cargo from the port of Mombasa to its final destination through an online digital platform. The new seals will be offered free of charge under the KRA RECTS initiative and e-fuel installation will be scheduled on first-come-first-served basis.
"The KRA notifies importers, transporters, customs agents and other parties conveying goods under Customs control that all containerised transit cargo and Single Customs Territory (SCT) goods from the port, and excisable goods will be tracked under the RECTS seals with effect from the publication of this notice. All petroleum and ethnol tankers conveying transit and SCT cargo must be fitted with the RECTS Efuel by 30th June 2020," read part of the notice.