Cargo movement from the port of Mombasa into the interior of East Africa could take as little as up to two days from May if all parties in the region agree to a deal to co-ordinate approvals.
TradeMark East Africa, which is facilitating EAC integration, said on Friday that all players at the gateway port have voluntarily accepted to sign the Mombasa Port Community Charter which has been in the works over the past 12 months.
While all state agencies at the port have been co-ordinating operations under the Kenya Ports Authority's watch, there has been pull and push among private actors.
TMEA's chief executive Frank Martsaet said the charter will require 13 public entities, eight private actors and three special bodies to co-ordinate their activities in a bid to further improve efficiency at the recovering port.
KPA data show that cargo turn-around time in 2013 fell to 3.5 days from 4.6 days a year earlier, while container dwell-time dropped to five days from seven.
Launch of the charter could coincide with that of the Kenya National Electronic Single Window System that has been on pilot for the last five months on May 2.
The charter requires different actors to perform specific roles within specific time-frames.
Poor infrastructure, delays in cargo clearance and lengthy custom procedures account for close to 60 per cent of cost of imports which is passed onto consumers through high prices, TMEA said.
Martsaet said the charter and the single window platform will help double East African trade value to Sh2.94 trillion ($34 billion) by 2016 by enhancing market accessibility, improving trade environment and increasing competitiveness.
TMEA projects that meanwhile, time taken to import or export a container in the region and transport it by road will reduce by 15 and 30 per cent respectively. This will in turn boost EAC's value of exports by five per cent and intra-regional trade as a share of total exports by 25 per cent.