Jun 10, 2009
General
caxias
The movement of the cargo from the port of Mombasa to the Container Freight Stations (CFSs) becoming a source of concern to many importers who have been losing their cargo at the port.
The movement of the cargo from the port of Mombasa to the Container Freight Stations (CFSs) becoming a source of concern to many importers who have been losing their cargo at the port.


CFSs, where containers are kept temporarily before clearance of cargo is done, have become quite fashionable, with any available land in Mombasa being taken up quickly and converted to that use. They were introduced as a means of alleviating the congestion at the port of Mombasa.


But increasingly, the movement of containers from the port to the stations is providing a loophole through which imported cargo can be stolen, clearing agents have said.


The surveillance for the movement of the cargo from the ships at the port to the nominated CFS is not sufficient, Mr James Kulla Kathenge a clearing agent with Starway International and Freight Forwarders who claims to have lost cargo from five containers in the past few months said.


Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (KIFWA) national vice chairman Mr Peter Mambembe wondered why the port was still transferring containers to CFSs yet there is no cargo congestion at the container terminal at the moment.


“The Bill of Lading nominates the port of Mombasa as the point of discharge and changing this to another destination without consulting the cargo owner constitutes an illegality,” Mambembe said.


According to him, CFSs provide security and escort to the cargo during transfer from the port, although a few cases of theft have been reported in the past.
The custom rules require only partial verification of the cargo, which is done at the CFSs.

In the event some cargo is stolen without interfering with the seals of the containers as claimed by Kathenge, it would be very difficult to tell during verification process.


For a consignment of five containers, it is only one, randomly selected, that is verified. Before any container is opened for verification, a clearing agent, CFS representative and a customs officer has to be present to confirm that the serial numbers on the seals match those on the clearing documents. The opened container is sealed by the importer to protect the cargo from theft during transport.


There are now four licensed CFSs receiving cargo directly from the ships at the port of Mombasa. It is the shipping lines and Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) that nominates the cargo to CFSs, Mambembe said.


Abubaker Hasssan, the branch manager of Hasban Ltd who imports Pampers claimed to have lost goods worth 20 million shillings in the last few months through theft.
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