IMPORTERS and transporters are slowing down business at the port of Mombasa, managing director Gichiri Ndua has said. He said despite improved port efficiencies, importers delay submitting their documents to relevant clearing agents to speed up cargo clearing adding that the delays in cargo clearance are hurting business at the port which is East and Central Africa's main transit route.
"As an importer, you need to hand over your documents as soon as you receive them to your clearing agent so that he or she starts processing the clearing of your cargo. Without this we will keep on demanding more space at the port yet it is in our ability to remove cargo from the port on time," said Ndua.
He also expressed concern over the low number of trucks availed to collect cargo at the port and urged transport companies to increase their capacity to pick containers.
According to Ndua, KPA is capable of delivering 2,000 twenty foot containers in a day but the number of trucks is insufficient to handle the cargo leading to delays.
"There is no reason for containers to stay at the port for upto five days yet they can leave the day they arrive," he said. In an interview he said the duration taken for cargo to be cleared at the port and delivered at the Malaba border has reduce from 13 days to an average of 4.8 days.
Container dwell time for transit cargo has also reduced to five days from 7.1 days while domestic cargo now takes three days to clear, reducing the total dwell time for cargo to an average of four days.
Ndua said removal of the non-tarrif barriers such as road blocks has also helped improve cargo movement which has helped the realisation of an average 1,300 twenty foot containers daily with the ship turn around reducing from an average 4.4 days to 3.5 days.
"We urge port users in the region to lodge your documents prior to the arrival of ships so that by the time the ship arrives your documents are in order and you have sorted out with the customs authorities, we will directly give you your cargo and you get out of the port," he said.