Press Center | Freight Shipping Logistics News
OMBASA KENYA: There are fears of massive loss of jobs in the country's shipping sector after 500 companies claimed they have been denied access to the Single Customs Territory ( SCT) system. Addressing the Press at the Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association ( Kifwa) offices in Mombasa Sunday, the shipping sector leaders appealed for urgent Government intervention, saying more than 24,000 jobs are at stake as a result of blocked access to the SCT system. The sector leaders who met at the Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association ( Kifwa) offices in Mombasa said following the new arrangement, business belonging to Kenyan clearing and forwarding agents have been paralysed since they can no longer clear goods destined to Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. They also noted that South Sudan has been allowed to introduce a monopoly after it was allowed to pick a single clearing and forwarding agent to handle its cargo on grounds of security. LOST REVENUE They noted that last week alone 340 containers and trans-shipment cargo destined to Tanzania were stuck at the Port since the clearing and forwarding agents could not access the SCT system. However, speaking to The Standard, Kenya Revenue Authority Assistant Commissioner in charge of communication and Marketing, Fatuma Yussuf said she has not received any complaints and is not aware of any impending job losses. She promised to look into the matter. Despite these assurances, Kifwa National Chairman Boaz Makomere and Federation of East African Freight forwarders Vice President Awiti Bolo (who is also the Nyali MP) described the situation as a major crisis for the country. The leaders urged Trade Cabinet Secretary Phylis Kandie and her National Treasury counterpart Henry Rotich to intervene in the matter. "We have had strong reservations with the manner in which the SCT is being implemented. More than 500 Kenyan clearing and forwarding firms cannot access cargo destined to Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania online while South Sudan has been allowed to operate with one clearing and forwarding firm as a monopoly," Makomere said. He further argued that the SCT system does not favour local businesses, adding that it is the multinationals who are enjoying the new plan while local clearing and forwarding firms end up laying off their employees. Makomere said companies that have been handling export cargo from Kenya have already lost their businesses and the income that comes with it since Export Processing Zone firms, which were previously working with Kenyan clearing agents, have been instructed to use the recipient countries.
Makomere noted that bulk cargo, including cereals, going through the Grain Bulk Handlers at the Port, have been taken over by agents from recipient countries. "There is a notice that more cargo and eventually all transit cargo will follow suit soon as implementation of the SCT continues. If this is left unchecked, it will turn Kenyan clearing agents into spectators as neighbouring landlocked countries take over their business," Makomore said. Bolo said he would ensure the matter is tabled in Parliament since SCT was implemented with dialogue yet it is now rendering thousands of workers jobless in addition to causing the country massive loss of revenue. "Cargo is being handled by foreigners in Mombasa and this poses security risks. Further still, there is now no dialogue with industry players on this arrangement that has turned out to benefit multinational companies and non-Kenyans," the MP said.
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