The new declaration proceedings in a nutshell: there is a punitive charge resembling port storage but it is charged by Kenya Customs and called customs warehouse rent (CWH). This applies to all cargo that remains unclear regardless of its location (it does not have to be in a customs controlled warehouse). The 21 free days allocated for this charge start counting from the date the entry is lodged, this led to the strange possibility that the punitive charge can arise when an agent has lodged an entry well in advance but the cargo is still on high seas, yet the client is paying a penalty for not clearing cargo (not possible when cargo has not yet arrived).
KRA has effectively amended this rule so now the punitive charge free days can only start from the date the cargo arrives Mombasa port.
Following this amendment KRA are requesting importers/clearing agents to lodge entries more in advance to speed up clearance.
However we do not expect this to have a major effect for 2 reasons:
- An entry cannot be lodged unless the shipping line manifest is uploaded which currently is at best a few days before the vessel arrives up to the time of vessel arrival or even just after. Unless something is changed about this, the pre-arrival can only be as early as the shipping line lodging its manifest.
- Kenfreight EA already pre-declares cargo if we get all documents in time. We always go as far as possible in advance which is usually having everything in place to lodge the entry once the shipping line manifest is uploaded. In essence we are already complying with KRAs request since the possibility of customs warehouse rent being charged was nearly nil since nearly no manifests get uploaded 21 days in advance. So the CWH rule was not stopping us from pre-declaring where possible.
So the amendment is a positive thing and shows the right approach by Kenya Customs but we will need other initiatives to enable faster flow of cargo through Mombasa port.
Download/view KRA Pre-Arrival Declaration announcement