News & Information



16
July
2020

Northern Corridor Stakeholders commend KMA for the extension of Free Empty Containers Return Period


By: TTCA
Summary/Brief
On 3rd July 2020, the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) in a notice issued to the public directed shipping lines to extend the free period on the return of empty containers by additional seven (7) days and three (3) days for transit and local traffic, from the existing granted periods.


On 3rd July 2020, the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) in a notice issued to the public directed shipping lines to extend the free period on the return of empty containers by additional seven (7) days and three (3) days for transit and local traffic, from the existing granted periods.

This materialized after consultations with various stakeholders in the maritime industry following KMA’s pledge to engage key players in the logistics chain, with a view of putting in place measures to handle delayed containers in the Northern Corridor stakeholders Zoom meeting convened and chaired by the Northern Corridor Secretariat for rapid information sharing, providing quick interventions and collaboration in mitigating the challenges and the impact of COVID-19 pandemic in each Member State and at each transit or transport node along the Corridor: Port, Weighbridges, One Stop Border Posts, ICDs, and Transit Parking Yards.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged all sectors of the economy with measures, guidelines and protocols instituted by the East African region and individual member countries to curb the spread of the Coronavirus disease partly contributing to delays in clearance and movement of cargo at the port of Mombasa and along the Northern Corridor. These delays have contributed to longer truck turnaround times to neighbouring countries.

To reduce the costs on importers who have been incurring additional charges in the form of penalties associated with delays in cargo clearance and return of empty containers, the KMA sought to have the shipping lines extend the free period on the return of containers to mirror the delays.

“Under the prevailing circumstances, it is important that penalties associated with delays in cargo clearance and return of empty containers prior to the COVID-19 reflect the prevailing circumstances on the ground,” said the KMA in a public notice signed by the Director General, Maj. (Rtd) George Nyamoko Okong’o.

The notice further clarified that the extension period of the return of the empty containers by KMA took effect on 1st July this year and will stay throughout the period of COVID-19.

With the new schedule, importers are allowed 17 days from the current 14 days for domestic cargo and 52 days from 45 days currently allowed for transit cargo, to return empty containers to designated yards in Mombasa. If the importers fail to return the containers in time, storage penalties technically referred to as demurrage, start accruing daily. 

“Shipping lines through their local ships agents are hereby directed as follows: - To extend free period on return of empty containers by additional seven (7) days and three (3) days for transit and local traffic respectively, from the existing granted periods,” said the Director General.

To this end, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), earlier in May 2020, also extended its free storage period package to its customers effective 18th May 2020 for a period of 90 days. The KMA public notice also hinted that KPA was considering extending the free storage period on the domestic cargo as well.





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