Over the years the government has invested in the expansion of the country’s transport and infrastructure network with a view of reducing the cost of doing business while creating new business and employment opportunities. At the port, it is observed that the cost of doing business and efficiency is dependent on the actions of key government agencies, shipping lines and cargo owners and the duration within which they execute their actions. The number of players and the level of duplication of roles also influence time and costs of doing business.
Cargo dwell times at the port and inland container depot at Nairobi are yet to reach optimal levels as intervening agencies often cause delays and cargo may remain in port even after customs release. As a result, high storage costs and other ills are passed on to cargo owners.
Efficiency in processing and transporting cargo may not be achieved by increasing the number of free period from four (4) to eleven (11) days as advocated by the private sector but rather through addressing practices and procedures impacting negatively on time and cost. Therefore, removal of unnecessary cost elements and reduction of the number of Government Agencies directly intervening in the flow of cargo at the Port and ICD as captured in the Government Circular OP/CAB 9/83A of 4th June 2019 is a welcome initiative.
Taking cognizance of the Government’s effort to reduce duplication of roles and unnecessary bureaucracy by regrouping and categorizing Government Agencies operating at the Port into the below four groups, processes of the frontline port operators (Category 2) will be monitored and evaluated under the reviewed Mombasa Port and Northern Corridor Community Charter. The Charter will facilitate establishment of the accountability framework needed to address shortcomings that have cost implication to cargo owners and other service providers.
Category 1: Vessel Boarding Parties
Category 2: Frontline Port Operators
These are critical agencies required at the Port.
Category 3: Intelligence-led Operators
Category 4: All other Government Agencies
Category to operate outside the Port and includes all other Government Agencies not included in 1, 2 and 3.
Category 5: Clearing Agents
The category includes cargo clearing agents, which are to operate outside the port.
The Mombasa Port and Northern Corridor Community Charter will provide a mechanism for monitoring, evaluating and reporting on a regular basis, the key performance indicators on an agreed dashboard and results framework. As directed in the Circular, all agencies intervening in cargo clearance have to integrate their information systems with KENTRADE’s single window platform for automation of collection of performance data.