More than 2,000 containers that have been lying at the Mombasa port for too long are set to be auctioned.
This comes as the storage charge waiver given to importers expires on Tuesday.
On February 14, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) announced that all accrued storage charges for containers discharged at the port before November 30, 2014, would be waived provided they were cleared within 60 days.
“All goods not removed from the port and container freight stations (CFSs) upon the expiry of the 60-day notice shall be sold by public auction without further reference to the owners,” KRA said in its notice.
The move was prompted by the high number of containers lying at the port. Some of them have remained at the harbour for over 10 years.
A small number of containers have been cleared over the past 60 days, prompting some importers to protest, saying the waiver was “cosmetic” and meant to open a window for illegal auctioning of the cargo.
The importers said they were yet to clear their cargo due to bureaucracy and refusal by some CFSs and shipping lines to waive the charges.
Mr George Kidima, a Uganda business representative in Mombasa, claimed some CFSs were not offering the waiver.
On Monday, KRA could not state how many containers had been cleared during the waiver period. The officer in charge of marketing and communication, southern region, Ms Fatma Yusuf, said the data was still being compiled.
While some sources at the port indicated that the number could range between 2,000 and 2,500, it was not possible to establish the number of containers being held at CFSs by the time of going to press.
Information from the Kenya Ports Authority shows that only 53 applications had been received for processing before the release of the cargo.
CFS Association of Kenya Executive Officer Daniel Nzeki dismissed the importers’ claims, saying all the facilities had heeded the order to waive the charges.
Source: Daily Nation