The Kenya Shippers Council said here Monday it had made wide-ranging recommendations to the ministries of transport and finance, Kenya R e venue Authority (KRA) and the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) on how to decongest th e port of Mombasa, which services at least seven other countries in east and cent r al Africa.
In a memorandum, KSC identified KPA’s cargo-handling capacity, operations and in effective use of container freight stations (CFSs), ineffective utilization of a v ailable surface transport modes, and operational and regulatory challenges facin g the road transport sector, as the major bottlenecks to the efficient movement o f cargo.
Consequently, they have called for an overhaul of the cargo processing system th rough expanded installation of electronic equipment,which would be a major depar t ure from the current manual handling system blamed for long delays and high demo r rhage.
The recommendations come in the wake of reports that the port was grappling with massive uncollected cargo due to delays.
Movement of cargo to landlocked countries to Kenya’s west — Uganda, Rwanda, Bur undi, Southern Sudan, southern Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo — w as recently affected through destruction of the Kenya-Uganda railway rowdy prote s ters in the Kenyan capital.
Over the past three years, port operators have made several initiatives in respo nse to growing concerns over increased congestion and delays of cargo clearance.
However, the changes have had little impact on congestion.
Part o the changes include KRA’s Simba 2005 Customs system to compute levies, im plementation of 24/7 port operations, harmonisation of the Port Authority’s elec t ronic clearance KWATOS system, the licensing of CFSs to handle clearance of cont a iners and motor vehicles outside the port, and modernization of Port handling eq u ipment.
However, KSC said it was looking to have further interventions to hasten this pr ocess. through having having CFSs regulated by a third party outside the KRA and
It was also wants some power to be vested with the Kenya Maritime Authority as s tipulated in the Merchant Shipping Act.
The council also recommended periodic reviews of the capacity of CFSs with clear performance indicators and a review of the Rift Valley Railway concession agree m ent with Kenya and Uganda to open up the transport sub-sector to other players.