The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) through its liaison office in Kigali recently hosted a capacity building and stakeholder sensitization workshop, in line with its initiatives in the transit markets to enhance the capacity of the local business communities in the use ICT systems in port clearance processes.
Participants in the 1-day workshop at Kigali Serena Hotel were clearing and forwarding agents, transporters, officials from the revenue authorities in Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda, importers and exporters and shipping lines, among others.
The meeting focused on customs and port documentation processes under the Single Customs Territory, Port Customer Service Charter, as well as Ethics and Anti-Corruption Policy.
The Kenyan ambassador to Rwanda, John Mwangemi, who was the guest of honour, thanked KPA for organizing the workshop that concerned all stakeholders in the Port of Mombasa.
“KPA has to be applauded for its exemplary customer service and wide coverage in transport cargo from the Port of Mombasa. I also want to applaud all the stakeholders who have been part of the good services and have chosen the Port of Mombasa as the port of their choice,” Mwangemi said.
He mentioned that one way to enhance service delivery is rationalizing connecting infrastructure which involves connecting the landlocked partner states to the coast.
“This can be achieved through building institutional capacity, harmonizing the regulatory framework and administrative procedures, forming the institutional framework of the region’s infrastructure to improve its performance through greater reliance on forces of competition and economies of scale. This should lead to balancing the roles of the governments and private sector in improving regional trade,” the ambassador observed.
Mwangemi added that government projects such as the One-Stop Border Posts, the Single Customs Territory and Electronic Single Window have made it easier for goods to be cleared at the port.
“The government of Kenya through KPA has continued to improve infrastructure and has to this end achieved the following: commissioning of the development of a cruise passenger terminal, planned relocation of the Kipevu Oil Terminal, significant progress on the standard gauge railway due to start operations between Mombasa and Nairobi by June, 2017 and thereafter to Kisumu and Malaba, further shortening the time taken to transport goods from Mombasa to the region,” he explained.
In addition, the construction of a vessel terminal at the port will start soon.
The Kenyan ambassador commended KPA for consistently keeping pace with increasing maritime demands, improving service delivery and reducing the cost and time of doing business.
Presenting the Port Clearance Procedures, George Ogutu from KPA said that the main objective is to enable customs agents and cargo owners to understand documents used in clearance of cargo, and to familiarize them with the processes of clearing cargo through the port.
Joab Omole of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) noted that since the introduction of the Single Customs Territory (SCT) among EAC members, the customs union is taking shape through the removal of restrictive regulations, minimization of internal border controls on goods moving between the partner states with the ultimate goal of free circulation of goods and people.
Under the SCT, goods are cleared at the first point of entry and one customs declaration is made in the destination country. Taxes are paid at the point of destination when goods are still at the point of entry, after which the goods are moved under a single regional guarantee bond from the port to destination.
Goods in transit/transfer are monitored by an electronic cargo tracking system in addition to having interconnected customs systems and minimized internal controls.
Alex Shyaka from the Rwanda Revenue Authority Customs Department noted that thanks to the SCT, trade barriers such as roadblocks and weighbridges have been removed.
The workshop closed with the participants being briefed on the anti-corruption and ethics being implemented by KPA for better service delivery.
About Kenya Ports Authority
Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) is a statutory body under the Ministry of Transport & Infrastructure established by an Act of Parliament on 20th January 1978. The Authority is responsible for the operation and management of the Port of Mombasa, other small seaports, inland container depots in Nairobi and Kisumu, and the liaison offices in Kampala, Kigali and Bujumbura that cater for transit countries.
KPA provides Marine Services which include Pilotage, mooring, tug and dockage services, and Cargo Handling which includes quay operations, stevedoring, shore handling, wharfage and yard operations.
Read this article and more in issue n° 73 of Hope Magazine.