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This would lead to higher prices for foreign goods brought into East Africa.
According to the Kenya Ship Agents Association, shipping lines serving the Kenyan port are thinking of reintroducing a surcharge removed three years ago of between $200 and $500 (KShs17,500 to KShs44,000) per container.
This follows growing delays in discharging cargo over the past three months that are being blamed on increased business, civil works at the container terminal yards and the recent two-month detention of a ship ferrying heroin. The delays are such a problem that shippers are allegedly being forced to to pay up to $2,000 (KShs176,000) per ship in incentives to port staff. (MOMBASA: Bribery at Mombasa Port (DailyNation.co.ke))
READ: Sh1.3bn heroin ship blown up 10 miles off Mombasa.
“The port’s berth capacity was reduced when Berth 8 was withdrawn from normal operations for nearly two months, between July 4 and August 29, when it was occupied by the drug suspect vessel MV Amin Darya (aka Alnoor),” the Kenya Ports Authority said in a recent statement. President Uhuru Kenyatta presided over the sinking of the ship and its cargo two weeks ago, removing it from the berth without the authority of the court handling the drug case.
KPA officials said yard planning had also been temporarily affected by work to expand exit gates and adjacent roads at the container terminal yards.
READ: Shippers lose millions due to works at Mombasa port.
Ship agents said, as a result, waiting times had gone up to 25 days on average, the highest since the post-election violence of 2008.
“Measures are already being taken by shipping lines to start the process of introduction of the vessel delay surcharge at the port of Mombasa,” Kenya Ship Agents Association chairman David Mackay said, who added that ship owners were bearing up to $40,000 (KShs3.5 million) a day in delay costs.
KPA general manager operations Twalib Khamis said his team had taken steps to reduce waiting times and address space constraints. They expect operations to get back to normal by the end of September. Cargo throughput at the port rose 12.8 per cent in July as 11.9 million tonnes were handled, up from 10.5 million tonnes over the same period last year.
PARASTATAL heads who signed the Mombasa port community charter risk being sacked if their agencies do not deliver on the contents of the new entity. The charter signed between the government and the private sector aims at improving the movement of cargo from the port into hinterland