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Clearing agents up in arms with government over new directive

Clearing and forwarding agents are opposed to a government directive requiring all un-nominated containers belonging to importers upcountry be transported to the ICD Embakasi by SGR.

In a letter to the Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya International freight and Warehousing Association cited the move as illegal having been implemented without prior consultations with stakeholders.

The directive, scheduled to take effect from today, will see goods hauled from the port in Mombasa to the Inland Container Depot in Embakasi for final clearance.

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“We were shocked to be informed at the Port Community Meeting that on government directive your authority has stopped nominations of CFSs from Monday this week and that all un-nominated containers consigned to Importers Upcountry have to be rallied to the ICD Embakasi by SGR for final clearance,” KIFWA national secretary Ahmed Shimbwa said in the letter.

He added that while the association fully backed SGR freight services, importers should have the right to choose whether or not to use the service.

“Any business given to SGR should be on voluntary basis, willing buyer willing seller and not by force. It is rather illogical that KPA has implemented this directive without prior consultations with the stakeholders,” Shimbwa said.

The country’s clearing agents expressed dissatisfaction with directive, requesting the Kenya Ports Authority to put it on hold until the stakeholders involved met to deliberate on a way forward.

According to KIFWA, cases have risen where clearing agents have already documented some cargoes for clearance through your previously pre-nominated Container Freight Stations and are now being informed that those cargoes have been railed to ICD Embakasi.

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“These clearing agents are now in a dilemma how they are going to go ahead with verification release processes on these containers in Nairobi where they have no offices,” Shimbwa said. “If our request does not meet with your favourable reply we may be forced to look at alternative avenues to stop this illegal practice.”

The SGR commercial cargo train began operations in January with a capacity of approximately 216 containers.

Importers pay Sh50,000 for a 20-foot container and Sh70,000 for 40-foot container transported by the SGR freight service train.

The upgraded inland container depot in Embakasi should house 22 agencies, which are members of the Mombasa Port Charter, to meet their obligations in addressing all the logistical hurdles to satisfy the needs of the private sector.

 

Source: The Star, Kenya



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