Kenya launches online cargo clearance platform

kenya cargo-Abir Anwar flickrThe system will give traders a single platform to lodge documents associated with cargo clearance. (Image source: Abir Anwar/Flickr)Kenya has launched an online cargo clearance system to boost operations at the port of Mombasa and the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA)

The Electronic Single Window System, also known as Kenya TradeNet System, is expected to make it easier and cheaper for traders to clear their goods in the east African country.

“With the system in place, we will progressively reduce the cargo dwell time to a maximum of three days at the port and at JKIA, easing the cost of doing business in the East African region,” noted Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta, during the launch ceremony in Nairobi recently.

Currently, it takes an average of seven days to clear cargo at the port of Mombasa.

Officials say that the system will reduce the cost of shipping a container from Kenya to Uganda by 50 per cent from the current US$3,300 to US$1,600. Containers going to Rwanda would cost US$3,300 from the previous US$5,000, they add.

The system will give traders a single platform to lodge documents associated with cargo clearance. The information can then be shared to numerous agencies including the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS), Kenya Bureau of Standards and the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).

The software integrates over 24 government agencies and provides various payments modes, including mobile money and 24 commercial banks.

Once fully operational, the system is expected to save the country between US$150mn and US$250mn in the next three years. Savings are expected to reach US$450mn by 2020.

According to the Central Bank of Kenya’s economic survey 2014, the cargo handled at Mombasa Port increased by 1.8 per cent to 22.31mn tonnes last year.

A huge part of this cargo goes to the East African Community (EAC) nations mainly Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan, with the rest remaining in Kenya.

—By Mwangi Mumero

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