June 14, 2020: The port users are seeking an extension of the free cargo storage period for local imports to cushion them from additional costs. This comes almost a month after Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) extended the free storage period for importers and exporters of transit cargo, leaving local tariffs unchanged, as reported by The Star.

In the revised three month free storage tariffs which came into effect on May 18, transit import containers are allowed 14 days of free storage at the port and the Inland Container Depot-Nairobi (ICDN), from a previous nine days.

Transit import containers at the Naivasha ICD have 30 days free storage while all transit export containers are now being stored for 20 days free of any charges from the previous 15 days.

“This is in line with our continuous and deliberate efforts of cushioning our customers on effects of the Coronavirus,” acting managing director Rashid Salim said.

However, storage for domestic import containers remained unchanged where cargoes are stored free for four days, before attracting charges.

This, according to the Shippers Council of Eastern Africa (SCEA) has led to increased cost of doing business for goods destined for Kenya as only 40 per cent of cargo is cleared within the free period.

The council had proposed an extension for local imports from the current four days to 10 days, as port services, clearance and movement remain affected by measures to mitigate Covid-19.

The Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (KIFWA), the umbrella body for clearing agents, has accused KPA of discriminating local cargo.

It has also requested for 10 days free storage period for domestic imports with national chairman Roy Mwanthi noting that clearance procedures and processes for local cargo are more complicated than transit.

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