enya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade), a state corporation set up in 2011 under The National Treasury and Planning that runs the National Electronic Single Window System (NESWS), popularly known as Kenya TradeNet System, an online platform for clearing cargo, has significantly transformed efficiency in export and import trade.
The system, KenTrade says in its quarterly bulletin, has simplified 53 trade procedures and removed 66 required documents, eliminating 45 steps, and automating 21 steps that were previously manual.
The system has saved Kenyan traders huge administrative burden costs and 93 hours on average, of waiting time in queue, at the counter, and in between steps.
The system has upscaled the digitization of trade in Kenya by integrating processes of 35 regulatory and permit issuing State agencies called Partner Government Agencies (PGA) in the NESWS.
The annual value of trade documents processed through the NESWS rose by 242% from Ksh 221B in 2021/2022 to Ksh 756B in 2022/2023, KenTrade says.
Over 4,290,981 Unique Consignment References (UCR) and 16,517 Shipping Line Impending Arrival Report notifications have been processed since 2014 and 4,533,078 permits processed in the same period.
Last year, KenTrade launched a Ksh90 million Business Intelligence (BI) Tool that seeks to collect extensive data on Kenya’s import and export trade.
The agency, which has now become a major trade enabler in Kenya and for other East African players using Mombasa port was mandated to establish, manage and implement the cargo clearing online system.
It has since fully achieved this feat, giving it room to venture into other areas of trade facilitation, such as the latest BI platform. Kenya TradeNet System was launched by the East African Community (EAC) regional Heads of State in Nairobi in May 2014.
Funded by TradeMark Africa (TMA), the BI tool has also helped the agency visualize internal and external strengths and weaknesses, detect opportunities for more innovation, and has been instrumental in the agency’s goal of reducing the cost of doing business in Kenya.
The TradeNet System has recorded over 14,000 users, registered with 41 stakeholder organizations, drawn from both public and private sectors. To date, the system has implemented all the Modules that were envisaged on the Kenya TradeNet System including the Risk Management module.
Other Trade Facilitation tools by Kenya TradeNet System include the Information for Trade in Kenya (InfoTradeKenya) System, which was launched in 2017.
This portal has published procedures of various commodities on trade regulatory information from government ministries and agencies that have a role to play in international trade.
The Watchlist Screening (i-ScreenKenya) was first introduced in March 2019 before upgrading to enable the trading community and other stakeholders to access and search for information about their potential trading partners.
Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) and KenTrade were given the responsibility of overseeing the implementation of the FAL agreement through the automation of passenger and ship clearance procedures that entailed enhancing the existing TradeNet System to cater to Maritime Single Window functions. The system went live in July 2021.
National governments are required to introduce electronic information exchange between ships and ports, which came into effect on 8 April 2019. The aim of this was to make cross-border trade simpler and the logistics chain more efficient. Over 10 billion tons of goods are traded by sea annually across the globe.
This requirement was an initiative of the International Maritime Convention’s (IMO’s) Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention) and is part of a package of amendments under the revised Annex to the FAL Convention, adopted in 2016.
This will reduce or eliminate the manual, decentralized, duplicated, and unnecessary lengthy processes in the maritime sector, which are affecting the ship’s turnaround time and increasing costs at the port of Mombasa.
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