enya International Freight and Warehousing Association (KIFWA) now wants the government to list its members as part of the essential services providers to allow seamless movement of cargo from various loading points to avoid delays and congestion.
Kenya reimposed COVID-19 restrictions after the country’s positivity rate recently topped over 20 percent increase since January this year.
Addressing the nation last week, the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta put the capital, Nairobi, and surrounding counties under lockdown.
“Seventy percent of Kenya’s reported cases of COVID-19 have been recorded in the counties of Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Kiambu and Nakuru,” he said.
“These counties are individually and collectively declared a disease-infected area. That there shall be a cessation of all movement by road, rail or air into and out of the disease-infected areas as one zoned area.”
This move affected Nairobi Inland Container Depot, which is currently clearing all Nairobi and its environs cargo bound cargo, Naivasha Inland Container Depot and Kenya Pipeline depots in Nairobi and Nakuru.
In a letter addressed to Principal Secretary in charge of Internal and Coordination of National Government on 29th of this month, KIFWA chair Mr Roy Mwanthi said that the lock down has affected clearing agents operations since their work is round the clock in nature
“Our work is basically to handle custom processes & documentations, Ports Documentation and plan logistics on behalf of Kenyan Importers and regional importers,” Mwanthi said.
Added him; “To support Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and Customs in execution of 24 hours service provision, we request clearing and forwarding sector be classified as part of the essential services providers and be allowed to move with production of a Valid Port Pass to enable movement from Mombasa Port and Nairobi ICD & Naivasha ICD respectively that grants grant permission,” Mwanthi said.
A day after the presidential address, KPA announced that as an essential service provider, it will continue carrying out its operations 24/7.
“As we deliver these critical services, we are also making deliberate efforts to implement measures of curbing the spread of COVID-19 in line with the Ministry of Health stringent directives and guidelines,” the acting Managing Director at KPA Eng. Mr Rashid Salim said.
He also announced that the port was working closely with the other players to ensure the seamless flow of the cargo in the wake of a disrupted supply chain globally because of COVID-19 that has occasioned irregular ship arrivals.
The port has also recorded a surge in cargo volumes and performance. For instance, in February, the port handled 103 542 Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) compared to 108,956 TEUs handled in a similar month last year.
Cargo dwelling time has also improved from 4.7 days in January to the current 4.7 days, signifying improved efficiency.