Kenya Freight Clearance and Forwarding Procedures
Imports into Kenya undergo various tasks through Kenyan customs and Kenya Port Authority during clearance of freights and cargo in Kenya. All this are procedures that freights and cargo undergo and carried out by Kenya clearing ageants and Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Customs officials.
1.1 Customs Declaration
All going well, prior to actual vessel arrival date in Mombasa, the shipping line lodges its online manifest with customs (into Simba Tradex system) and the port authorities (port KWATOS system). The manifest number pertaining to the concerned shipment on board of the vessel is advised by the shipping line. Special attention has to be given to the place of clearance (port / CFS (Container Freight Station) as this may differ depending on special nature of the cargo (dangerous cargo) or special request from the importer as stated on the bill of lading or granted by the ports authorities (see point 1.3 – Container Freight Station consigning above).
Against the uploaded manifest, a customs entry is prepared on the Simba Tradex online system by the importers clearing agent.
Parallel to this, once the manifest is uploaded by the shipping line, the original Bill of Lading duly endorsed by the consignee (or the telex release) is submitted to the shipping line for issuance and release of a delivery order. This is done after settlement of the local shipping line charges. The shipping line has to ensure the delivery order is also uploaded online.
Uploaded entries are passed after either payment of duties or confirmation of exemption by means of the exemption letter code in the customs system.
1.2 Customs Long Room Formalities
A customs folder is prepared by the clearing agents declaration team, and a set of documents is
dispatched to customs long room in Mombasa where the documents are endorsed after being checked by customs. Endorsed documents are dispatched to the point of final clearance, i.e. Port of Mombasa (KPA) or nominated Container Freight Station to the resident customs officers.
At the point of clearance the mode of verification is assigned by customs and executed i.e. sight and release, direct release, normal verification, 100% verification, scanning, etc…
1.3 Customs Verification and / or Scanning
For scanning the container is loaded on a truck and passed through the scanning machines either in the port or at the Container Freight Station. If the scanning image shows any irregulaties, customs will usually proceed to do verification.
For customs verification containers have to be placed down, opened and stripped. If verification is to be performed at a Container Freight Station, all cargo has to be transferred to the respective Container Freight Station by the Container Freight Station operator.
A verification report, which must tally with the customs declaration, is inserted on the Tradex – Simba system by the Customs Officer. If the results of the designated verification procedure indicate any abnormalities then the customs will usually proceed for 100% verification. Any discrepancies on value-quality-quantity or the finding of any undeclared items will lead to customs raising an offence for which the outcomes are varied and guided by the customs management act.
If cargo was not verified / scanned or if the results of this was a clean bill, customs can issue a customs release order once it is confirmed that the delivery order obtained earlier is reflecting online (indicating the clearing agent for which the cargo was checked by customs is indeed to be released to this clearing agent).
1.4 KPA Pick Up Order or Container Freight Station Release order
A pick up order is generated via the Kwatos website, on line, for all consignments cleared within the port of Mombasa. This pick up order is attached to the set of documents (which includes the delivery order, passed customs entry, customs release order) and presented to CDO (Customs Documentation Office) at Port.
Port Charges are then paid usually by deducting the clearing agents running account with the port. Cargo can then be evacuated out of the port premises. Allocated truck and trailer must be booked via kwatos for loading purposes.
For Container Freight Station clearance, principle is the same in general Container Freight Station Release Order process though issueing of release orders and payment of Container Freight Station charges can differ per Container Freight Station (some are manual, some electronic, some require bankers cheques, others can give credit). Once charges are secured and paid, a gate pass is issued to the clearing agent for collection of cargo and loading purposes.