Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) – Impressive progress in 24 hour port operation

THE Kenya Ports Authority has re-ported progress in port operations following the recent embracement of the 24 hour service program.

The round the clock port service has enabled port users to process their documents, pay duties & other levies and clear their cargoes on a 24 hour basis which came in after Presidential directive to Government Agencies concerned in cargo clearance.

It is important to note that the Kenya Ports Authority operations departments have always worked on 24 hours basis. Shielded from tidal influence, the port of Mombasa receives vessels calling in to load and discharge round the clock.

The quest to include other sections of the port services into the 24 hour working regime came sometime in early 2006 when the management and stakeholders realized the influx of cargo volumes. This was when Ships discharged round the clock while deliveries were restricted from 8.00 am to 5.00pm. During this time cargo deliveries averaged 350 containers per day com-pared to over 800 containers ship deliveries.

Consequently, congestion was inevitable and in fact worsening as containers were building up. It was at this time that KPA management and stakeholders raised the complaints to the government to have cargo deliveries on a 24 hour basis as a way of fighting congestion.

In June 2006, the then Minister for Finance honourable Amos Kimunya, in his budget speech, directed that the port should work on 24 hour basis. Immediately on hearing this announcement, the KPA management took the lead to call for an all-parties meeting to endorse the new working arrangement.

To the KPA management and many other stakeholders, this was a break through, a prayer answered as it would help clear cargo faster to reduce congestion and avoid imposition of vessels delay surcharge by shipping lines.

By mid 2007, cargo delivery was being done up to 2100hours, then to 2300hours towards the end of 2007. Through dialogue among the stakeholders, we moved to have cargo whose duty was fully paid and cleared during the day allowed to move out at anytime in the night. This improved cargo delivery to an average of 600 units per day, although our target was 1000 units per day.

With the new working arrangement now endorsed totally by all stakeholders and including documentation processes collection of revenue on 24 hour basis from 18th August 2008, we have already start¬ed to see some improvements in container delivery, which has grown from 427 in August 2008 to over 720 currently.

The 24 hour work schedule will also reduce the cost by port users as they will pay less on cargo storage while the port improves in efficiency and moves closer to its vision: to be rated among the top ten ports in the world in terms of reputation and performance, by the year 2010.

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