Juba — About 66 containers with goods belonging to South Sudan traders are stuck at the Kenyan port of Mombasa, according to the secretary-general of the South Sudan Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (SSCCIA), Simon Akuei Deng.
In an exclusive interview with Sudan Tribune following the closure of a two-day workshop at Juba's Grand Hotel, Deng urged the government to send a commercial attache to Mombasa to resolve the situation, adding that some of the containers had been held passed their value.
He declined to put a figure on the value of the goods stuck at the Kenyan port, saying only that the amount is "reasonable".
In a separate interview, the secretary-general of Intergovernmental Standing Committee on Shipping (ISCOS), Kenneth Mwige, told Sudan Tribune that traders could be to blame for the delay.
"Usually the claim should have been done by the importer but sometimes they find that it is already uneconomical for them to clear but we will find out what the problem is and resolve the issue," Mwige said.
Mombasa port is the main gateway for goods entering landlocked South Sudan.
The two-day workshop in Juba saw the formation of the interim committee of the South Sudan Shippers Council, an umbrella body of traders involved in the import business.
Deng said once formally established, the shippers council will be responsible for handling issues related to the country's traders at the port.
A six-member steering committee tasked with making the constitution and the concept paper has been formed in the interim period.
Committee members include the ministry of transport's Simon Manyok, ministry of finance representative Agustino Akenyi and the Chamber of Commerce's Juma Simon Charles, with Taban Patrick, Soso Yowa and Ruben Kuany Dut representing the business community's interests.
ISCOS, in collaboration with the SSCCIA and Trade Mark East Africa are pushing for the shippers' council to come into existence within six months in order to address ongoing challenges facing South Sudan importers at ports.