NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 28 – President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday toured the port of Mombasa accompanied by his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni to show him the progress made in boosting efficiency at the facility.
The two head of states were taken through presentations by Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Revenue Authority and Kenya Railways Corporation.
With the completion of the Phase 2B of the SGR line linking Naivasha to Malaba, and the expected line from Malaba to Kampala, freight movement time Mombasa from to Kampala will reduce from the current 8 days to a maximum of 24 hours.
Officials of the three institutions lauded the implementation of the Standard Gauge Railway freight services and the implementation of the Single Customs Territory (SCT) regime which has created seamless connectivity at the port.
The single customs territory was initiated under the East African Community in 2014 to facilitate faster clearance and to improve cargo movement in the region.
It involves interconnectivity of customs systems to facilitate seamless flow information between custom stations and a payment system to manage transfers of revenue between the EAC partner states.
The SGR freight services began on December of 2017.
KRA officials said cargo volume to Uganda from Mombasa port has increased due to both the SCT and the introduction of the SGR line to complement the Northern Corridor.
Apart from growth in cargo volumes, other benefits of the single customs territory are the integration of the Kenya Revenue Authority and the Uganda Revenue Authority systems.
This has enabled seamless processing of transactions and enhanced cargo security through the regional electronic cargo tracking system.
Cargo tracking system has made it easier for customs officials to monitor cargo movement with strategically placed rapid response units being able to provide real-time intervention along the Northern corridor in case of an eventuality.
According to KRC, cargo transported through the SGR line currently represents 20 per cent of all the cargo cleared from the port of Mombasa.
This is a steady rise from a paltry 2 per cent before the launch of the SGR.
KRC said they expect the percentage to exceed 40 per cent by end of this year.