Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) importing their goods in a joint container will from 8th February 2021 have their cargo cleared in Nairobi as opposed to Mombasa Port in a move Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) expects to cut freight charges.
This follows the gazettement of Boma Line, a Kenya Railways transit shed, which was commissioned last year by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
According to KRA, all consolidated cargo imported by sea and transported to Nairobi through the Standard Gauge Railway, will be deconsolidated, cleared, and collected by the owners at the facility.
Operationalization of the new facility now means importers will not pay Ksh.110,00 ($1000) they were previously paying as container deposits.
“For instance, going forward traders from far areas such as Nanyuki and Sagana will no longer incur huge transport costs to ferry their goods from Inland Container Deport Nairobi as this shed will be easily accessible,” said KRA Acting Commissioner, Customs & Border Control Pamela Ahago.
Boma Line which has the capacity to handle approximately 100 40-foot containers per month is expected to serve at least 7,500 small traders in Nairobi and its environs.
Ahego says the facility which operates 24-hours will on average rake in Kshs. 110 million per month in customs revenue and which will surge to Kshs. 1 billion post-covid.
“The facility will also reduce the cost of doing business for small traders while facilitating easy access of their goods. Cargo designated for other parts of the country will be deconsolidated at the other designated facilities. The owners of the consignment will collect their cargo from the deconsolidated centres,”
Cargo for the SMEs will be transported from Kilindini Port to ICDN, Embakasi, and later transshipped to the Transit Shed using Metre Gauge Railway (MGR).
At the shed, consolidated cargo will be stripped from containers and stored in Customs shed while being arranged according to their nature with marking for easy tracking and identification.
The verification by Customs officers and other Government agencies will be done on these specific single goods as opposed to the typical verification of a whole container which is backed to improve cargo verification turnaround time.
KRA says traders with goods of customs value of Kshs. 1.1 million ($10,000) or less will now be allowed to make an import declaration on a simplified Mobile App or a direct assessment entry, while those with goods of Customs value above the said value will clear through a registered clearing agent in the Customs system.
The number of containers being cleared at the facility is later expected to increase to approximately 300 containers per month during the post Covid period.
Importers, cargo consolidators and their clearing agents are required to fully comply and provide correct information to Customs to avoid the contravention of Sections 203 (a) and (b) of the East African Customs Management Act (EACCMA) 2004 that makes it an offence to make a false declaration of any kind.