The Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (KIFWA) has said clearing agents/importers are facing high costs at the Mombasa Port and Inland Container Depot Nairobi (ICDN) due to the pile-up of cargo.

“Since the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) withdrew importers nominations to their preferred CFSs, there has been a big pile-up of cargo at both the Mombasa Port and ICDN and thus making importers/clearing agents pay colossal port storage/marshalling charges besides huge shipping line demurrage. This translates to high costs of goods clearance leading to a price increase of basic commodities to Kenya,” KIFWA said in a statement.

The Association also highlighted the fact that the crackdown on counterfeit and contraband goods is causing huge delays at the cost of importers. KIFWA is, therefore, requesting the government to address the challenges contributing to the high costs “for the benefit of Kenyans.”

Challenges Importers Face

KIFWA noted that free storage has been reduced from eleven to four days while it takes a longer time for ICDN designated containers to arrive in Nairobi. Additionally, average dwell time averages twelve days with every container passing at the ICDN averaging ten days of storage and re-marshalling charges.

The Association is, therefore, faulting KPA for denying importers the chance to transfer containers to nominated CFSs arguing that the Authority “loses nothing when importers nominate to CFS.”


KIFWA has also criticised the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) for imposing penalties on change of place of clearance by importers, using several units to carry out the same verification processes, and delaying the time it takes to process entries whose taxes have been paid by importers.

“Online request processing messages are ignored altogether,” KIFWA added.

Issues with KEBS/Port Health/KEPHIS

According to KIFWA, KEBS rejects Certificates of Conformity (COC) issued by their appointed inspection agents at the countries of origin. Upon cargo arrival, goods are re-inspected and are often failed, creating a contradictory scenario. In addition, the inspection process also requires lab tests further delaying the process at the importers’ cost.

The Association surmised that KEBS is using incompetent inspectors at the countries of origin, a situation that is hurting the importers at the end of the day.

Moreover, KIFWA observed that the several bodies are conducting the same lab tests on food commodities further increasing the costs for importers.

“The Standards body continually delays local inspection and uploading of local COCs even on exempted industrial raw materials,” KIFWA stated. “Due to the recent arrests of KEBS inspectors, fear has crept in decision making leading to slow cargo release processes.”

Obscure Operations at the Kenya Maritime Authority

KIFWA criticised the Kenya Maritime Authority for failing to arbitrate in the maritime industry and for favouring multinationals at the expense of small local firms.