State agencies at Embakasi’s Inland Container Depot (ICD) have failed to meet a decree issued by President Uhuru Kenyatta last month that called for the release of containers housing products imported by small scale traders within three weeks.
President Uhuru Kenyatta gave the order on May 27 after conducting an impromptu visit to the container depot following protests by small scale traders who decried that they were incurring losses because of clearance delays at the port.
Despite the Head of State’s order, the Business Daily reports that only 89 out of 514 containers held at the port have been released from the port as at yesterday.
“About 300 have already been cleared by the agencies but are yet to be released and we had a meeting today (yesterday) where we have directed them to release the containers in the next two days. We also have some 125 containers whose owners are yet to show up,” Trade and Industrialisation Secretary Peter Munya is quoted as saying by the Business Daily.
The Business Daily attributes the hold up at the inland depot to miscommunication between the Trade Ministry and the state agencies in charge of the cargo clearing process.
Protocol dictates that cargo imported from overseas has to undergo a Pre-Export Verification of Conformity to Standards (PVOC) evaluation in their source countries before they can be cleared and released by relevant port authorities in the country. However, clearing agencies such as the Kenya Bureau of Standards can only do so upon receiving an exemption notice from the Trade Secretary.
This vital communication between the Trade Ministry and government clearing agencies hasn’t been forthcoming according to the Business Daily Report and it has resulted in the cargo pile up at the Inland Container Depot.