Newly rolled out Integrated Customs Management System (ICMS) at the Port of Mombasa is now experiencing hitches, leading to a pile-up of imported cars at the port.
The system was meant to help the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) clear goods faster at the port, and ease congestion whicha has been caused by slow clearance of goods.
The system entails submitting export or import documents into a single-window system on motor vehicle imports processing.
“KRA is working on enhancing user experience as piloting of additional cargo types kicks off. We are currently piloting on motor Vehicles with a controlled group of stakeholders and addressing all issues along the way. Since its rollout, there has never been any major technical hitches, both short term and persistent,” said KRA Commissioner, Customs and Border Control Kevin Safari.
KRA says that the system will reduce motor vehicle clearance time by 60 percent, despite complains by importers that the system has caused several delays due to hitches that could see thousands of cars pile up in the port.
“On our part as importers, delay on clearance means delays on orders as suppliers and end users wait longer to get their units. Delays are happening due to the non-familiarity with the system,” said Stella Koech, a manager at JPC Trade, a Tokyo-based Japanese used car dealer, as quoted by Business Daily.
This is despite KRA saying that it had trained at least 6,156 individuals on the new system including clearing agents, importers, shipping agents, consolidators, EPZ operators, ground handlers, CFS operators and insurance companies.
“Training and sensitisation on iCMS has been on-going since 2017. KRA has put in place an elaborate support framework that ensures quick resolution of any reported issues,” said Safari.
The new system was launched in 2016 to replace Simba System, which ran on multiple platforms and required multiple points of authentication for users, thereby taking more time.
iCMS is also being used at the airports including JKIA, Eldoret International Airport and Moi International Airport. It is currently being piloted at Kilindini Mombasa.