Boost for traders as state unveils new cargo system

KEBS and Kentrade have rolled out a single window processing platform in a Move to help streamline international trade.

The Kenya Bureau of Standards has partnered with Kenya Trade Net System(Kentrade) in setting up a single window platform for cargo clearance.

It allows traders to submit import–export documentation and access approvals in a one stop shop setting.

The single window system replaces the time-consuming manual process that required traders to seek clearance from multiple government agencies via different platforms, occasioning delays and high clearance costs for goods at the Kenyan border points.

According to Kebs managing director Bernard Njiraini, the platform will enhance customs efficiency and boost national competitiveness in the import-export market, through simplified cross border trade processing,

“We anticipate that the new single window system will eradicate the past operational inefficiencies associated with trade documentation and approval processes,”Njiraini said.

The value of trade between Kenya and its key business partners dropped in 2020, latest government data shows, even as the country’s exports recorded growth.

Kenya National Bureau of Statistics 2020 data shows a 4.7 per cent drop in trade value in the year to December, closing at Sh2.283 trillion, down from Sh2.396 trillion in 2019.

Equally, there was an 8.8 per cent drop in the value of imports at Sh1.64 trillion, down from Sh1.80 trillion the previous year, with leading import source market of China slightly losing its market share despite remaining Kenya’s dominant source market

Export volumes however grew 25.5 per cent in value to Sh641.2 billion, from Sh510.9 billion the previous year.

The new system that started operation on April 1, 2021, is expected to fast-track the clearance of cargo through a self-operating process, allowing businesses to not only plan and allocate resources accordingly, but also mitigate logistical risks and challenges.

The system also offers a secure verification option to safeguard against false documents such as permits, licenses, and certificates with the aim to create a transparent and fast processing system.

Other accrued benefits include elimination of cumbersome use and storage of paper files as well as associated costs.

Previously, the manual process led to delayed decision making due to additional time spent in obtaining, collating and analyzing data and high indirect transactional taxation due to errors or duplicated manual processes.

Traders also had to deal with long coding processes, shipping delays and compliance violations at points of entry.

Beneficiaries of the newly introduced Kenya Trade Net System include partner government agencies, exporters, importers, consolidators, ground handling agents, customs and shipping agents.

The systems also make working with institutions such as banks, insurance and container freight stations much easier.

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