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Goods inspection at port stopped

Imported goods will not be re-inspected at the port of Mombasa once cleared at the origin, a move that will increase the flow of goods in the market and cut shipment costs.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich says that additional inspection of imports by the Kenya National Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has subjected importers to increased cost through demurrage or storage costs as it takes longer period to clear the consignment.

To address the challenge of delays, he said once the Pre-Verification of Conformity (PVOC) has been done at the point of export and information relayed to customs and standards teams, the same goods should not be subjected to further inspection unless there is prior intelligence on non-compliance.

“Government will streamline the process of PVOC so that our business community stops suffering demurrage charges and other costs while clearing their goods at the point of entry,” said Mr Rotich yesterday when he presented the 2019/2020 Budget.

“This (delays) has been caused by additional inspections of imports by the Kenya Bureau of Standards and a host of other agencies,” he added.

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Mr Rotich also indicated that logistics at the port and at the Inland Container Depot will be streamlined to have the Customs and the essential standards team only, in a move that might see a reduction of personnel.

Kenya Ports Authority has been seeking to reduce the number of agencies operating within the facility to five from 51, as part of efforts to streamline operations and minimise delays.

There have been complaints by shippers that delays at the port had subjected them to higher costs of doing business. The most hit were flower firms, which had to incur massive losses resulting from delays caused by inspections.

Last week, the Kenya Flower Council said the cost of fertiliser went up by 39 percent following the delays at the port. The situation was worsened by the confiscation of low standard fertiliser at the port last year.

“For us, the cost of fertiliser went up by 39 percent as a result of delays in releasing the consignment, said Nicholas Ambanya, the CEO of Magana Flowers.

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