Players in logistic sector have urged the government to extend demurrage free period for ships calling at the Port of Mombasa to entice more traders to use the facility during this Covid-19 period.
Importers said if the government does not act quickly there is likelihood of shippers moving to Port of Dar es Salam where they have already scrapped storing orders and doubled demurrage free period.
“We have had conversation with Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) and other stakeholders in trying to urge them to extend demurrage period but Tanzania have done it before us.
This is risky since port of Mombasa is expected to face stiff competition in the coming months considering shippers will be attracted to ports which offer cheaper operating cost,” said Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (Kifwa) chairman Roy Mwanthi.
Mr Mwanthi added, “last week, KMA and other port stakeholders held a virtual conference where traders raised the issue and we hope they will consider it.”
Two weeks ago Tanzanian government scrapped storing orders and doubled demurrage free period for ships to cushion them from impacts of Covid-19 which has resulted to delays in loading and offloading cargo.
Tanzania Shipping Agencies Corporation (TASAC) announced that it has extended demurrage free period for Rwanda, DRC Congo and Zambia in a bid to entice them to use the facility more and cushion traders against Covid-19 pandemic effects.
“TASAC has considered challenges facing the maritime transport sector, including the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic in neighbouring countries which have interfered with timely access of cargo and associated documents,” read the circular by TASAC.