Nairobi- Imported goods will from January be cleared by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) before they arrive at the Port of Mombasa in efforts aimed at improving cargo clearance and easing congestion at the harbour.
KRA on Wednesday said it has set up a system that allows importers to declare goods long before ships dock at the sea port.
This is a departure from the present system where KRA officials process importers’ documents after the arrival of goods, which has been partly blamed for sluggish cargo movement at the port.
“With the pre-arrival clearance of cargo, goods will leave the port within 12 hours after arrival as opposed to about three days currently,” said KRA commissioner of customs services Julius Musyioki during a joint forum with World Customs Organisation officials to discuss cross border trade facilitation.
Mr Musyioki said the plan will be piloted from January, targeting 70 per cent of importers in the next two years.
Delays in clearing stock at Mombasa port attract demurrage costs, with importers passing this on to consumers.
Traders can fill import declaration documents online and submit for the taxman to process them before the cargo arrives at the port.
Regional trade officials said the taxman’s move bodes well with the ongoing construction of the standard gauge railway set to double cargo train speeds.
“The faster clearance will likely result in efficient use of the cargo trains on the new railroad and avert delays,” said East African Community Secretariat director of customs Kenneth Bagamuhunda.
KRA commissioner general John Njiraini said the taxman will put a notice in the newspapers today to encourage importers to take advantage of the pre-arrival cargo clearance regime.
He said traders, companies and manufacturers are set to cut costs as there will be no delays at the port as goods await to be cleared.