Vehicles stuck at port after NTSA registration hitch

imported vehicles
Since last week, imported vehicles have been unable to leave the port of Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Crisis has rocked the Mombasa port where over 1,000 imported cars are stuck following the breakdown of the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) system.

The collapse of the NTSA e-sticker application system has affected both owners of imported cars and those applying for transfer of their vehicle registration.

New vehicles leaving the port must have electronic stickers– referred to as third identifiers – affixed on vehicle windscreens and bears discrete and covert features of the vehicle registration, ownership and inspection details.

The application for the sticker is done through the Integrated Transport Management System (TIMS) hosted on the authority’s website. The sticker costs Sh700.

Since last week, the vehicles have been unable to leave the port, forcing owners from different parts of the country to spend more days in Mombasa following the delay in releasing their cars.

“We have received several complaints from the importers following the breakdown and by Thursday if the system is not operational then we will have up to 2, 000 vehicles stuck there. So many vehicles have paid since last week but they are yet to be released,” said Peter Otieno, chair of Car Importers Association of Kenya (CIAK).

NTSA coast region officer in charge Zack Muema said the system broke down Monday and linked the problem to e-Citizen, a government backed application for payments.

Motorists will be required to buy the stickers when renewing their annual insurance.

NTSA plans to have all registered motor vehicles in the country (over two million) compliant by the end of next year.

The electronic chips come loaded with each vehicle’s details, including the number plate, model and chassis number, which are then linked to a central database.

This will in an instant indicate whether a car is stolen, its insurance status and history of traffic offences, making it harder for drivers to get away with traffic breaches and help police recover stolen cars. The sticker is supposed to be valid for 10 years before one makes a replacement, but the importers have also raised complaints over the stickers durability.

Mr Otieno claimed that the stickers that have been issued by NTSA worn out faster than expected.