Kenyan consumers may soon have to dig deeper into their pockets to buy their favourite goods as shipping lines slap importers with additional charges following costly delays in offloading cargo at the port of Mombasa.
According to Shippers Council of Eastern Africa, up to four ships are waiting to dock at the port a delay that attracts charges from port authorities.
But rather than bear the extra cost, the shipping lines have decided to pass on the cost to the importer, who may eventually load it to the end consumer price.
CMA CGM shipping line, one of the leading shipping group in East Africa and the third biggest worldwide container carrier, has already introduced the surcharge.
“Port congestion in Mombasa, Kenya is further increasing, CMA CGM will implement the emergency Port Congestion Surcharge (PCS) on worldwide cargo bound to and from Kenya until further notice,” read part of the liner circular to its clients.
According to the notice, which become effective February 22, importers will pay additional Sh15,000 for the small shipping containers and Sh30,000 for the big ones.
Exporters are not spared either. CMA CGM also introduced Sh5,000 and Sh10,000 surcharge for the small and big containers, respectively.
This comes just a week after transporters protested the introduction of license for conveyance of goods under Customs Control which would require them to pay about Sh22,000 per truck from February 15. The Kenya Revenue Authority has, however, put the plan on ice to allow for further consultations.
The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) attributed the delay in attending to the vessels calling at the port to increasing cargo imported after Covid-19 pandemic restrictions cessation.
“We are witnessing steady growth in import volumes for both general and containerised cargo following easing of Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns from the major import countries,” said KPA acting managing director Rashid Salim.
The Dock Workers Union, however differed with the port boss saying the cause of the delay was a workers go slow following a dispute over overtime pay policy.
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