he Single Maritime Window System was officially launched in Mombasa yesterday after a six-month piloting with selected shipping lines. The system which significantly improves ships clearing and turnaround is touted to reduce the cost of business, improve ship turnaround and enhance the country’s ease of doing business index.
KenTrade has been working with the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) to develop the system that facilitates ship clearance procedures by providing a single online portal for the declaration of information on the arrival, stay and departure of ships between the shipping lines/agents and the approving government agencies involved.
It is a mandatory requirement for national governments to introduce electronic information exchange between ships and ports, which came into effect from 8 April 2019. This is aimed at making cross-border trade simpler and the logistics chain more efficient for the over 10 billion tons of goods that are traded by sea annually across the globe.
The requirement, under International Maritime Convention’s (IMO’s) Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention), 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 is affecting the ship turnaround time and increased costs at the port of Mombasa.
“The maritime industry in terms of logistics is set to benefit significantly from the system as it addresses the numerous unharmonized procedures that will now be delivered in a more coordinated manner,” Ms. Nancy Karigithu, the Principal Secretary in the State Department of Shipping and Maritime affairs said during the launch in Mombasa.
The FAL Convention recommends the use of the “Single Window” concept in which the agencies and authorities involved exchange data via a single point of contact. This, according to Karigithu, will make it easy to share and retrieve data.
It will also improve the country’s competitiveness globally and enhance Kenya’s fidelity to the international conventions it has ratified. The Merchant Shipping Act of 2009 has so far ratified 26 conventions.
“Indeed, the system will go a long way in improving the trading and business environment and enhance the country’s ranking of ease of doing business,” Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said.
KenTrade has been working together with KMA to implement the E-Maritime Module on the Single Window System to allow Shipping Agents in Kenya to submit electronically declarations to government agencies mainly KMA, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), State Department of Immigration, Port Health, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS) and the Kenya Coast Guard Service.
“Licensed shipping lines and agents operating in Kenya will be mandated to use the Maritime Single Window System (MSW) to electronically prepare and submit vessel pre-arrival and pre-departure declarations to the government agencies at Effective Wednesday, June 2, 2021,” KenTrade said in a public notice last month.
Seven FAL forms have been automated on the MSW for submission for approval by the relevant Government Agencies. This includes IMO FAL form 1 – General declaration; IMO FAL form 2 – Cargo declaration; IMO FAL form 3 – Ship’s stores declaration; IMO FAL form4 Crew’s effects declaration, IMO FAL form 5 – Crew’s list; IMO FAL form 6 – Passenger list and IMO FAL form 7 – Dangerous Goods Manifest.
Other include The Last Poets of Call; Maritime Declaration of Health Form;;Waste & Fuel Declaration Form; ;International Ship and Port Facility Security & SOLAS Forms and Ship Certificates (IMO, Flag State, Class Society, Radio Equipment)
‘As part of our mandate for trade facilitation, the Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade), through the E-Maritime Module (Kenya Maritime Single Window System) seeks to provide harmonized and simplified ship to shore clearance procedures to the maritime stakeholders,” KenTrade notice said.
Piloting of the Single Maritime Window System started in December last year with six shipping lines.
“The new FAL Convention requirement for all Public Authorities to establish systems for the electronic exchange of information related to maritime transport marks a significant move in the maritime industry and ports towards a digital maritime world, reducing the administrative burden and increasing the efficiency of maritime trade and transport,” said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim in an earlier press release.
KPA vessel-calling report shows that Denmark’s Maersk Line topped the list with a 35 percent share of container volume in Mombasa, a margin of 19.9 to the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), the closest rival.
Maersk brought 185 ships to the port trading a total of 457,685 TEU for both imports and exports, according to the report.
Mediterranean Shipping Company had 131 vessels at the port of Mombasa, trading 198,451 TEU for both imports and exports, hence controlling a 15.2 percent share of container throughput.
CMA CGM had 59 of its ships call at the port to trade a total of 98,398 TEU, translating into a 7.5 percent share. The CMA CGM vessels carried 50,616 TEU of full imports and 2,626 TEU of empty imports, 11,462 TEU of full exports and 33,694 TEU of empty exports.