Kenya has migrated its vessel handling processes into a single window system, easing vessel clearance at the Port of Mombasa.
Effective June 2, shipping lines and agents operating in Kenya are required to use the Maritime Single Window System as the country moves to comply with the International Maritime Organization rules.
The system is used to electronically prepare and submit vessel pre-arrival and pre-departure declarations to the government agencies for clearance.
Documents which have been automated includes the IMO General Declaration form, cargo declaration, ship’s stores declaration, crew’s effects declaration, crew’s list, passenger list, dangerous goods manifest, last ports of call and maritime declaration of health form.
Others are waste and fuel declaration form, international ship and port facility security and SOLAS (The International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea) forms and ship certificates (IMO, Flag state, class society, radio equipment).
Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade) has partnered with the Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA in the implementation of the system as an E-Maritime module of the Kenya TradeNet System, to comply with the International Maritime Organization Convention on Facilitation of Maritime Traffic known as FAL Convention.
It is among the 120 governments (member states) that have ratified the FAL Convention.
The FAL Convention recommends the use of the “Single Window” concept in which the agencies and authorities involved exchange data via a single point of contact, in a move aimed at improving port services with reducing vessel delays expected to save traders from demurrage charges.
This is a charge payable to the owner of a chartered ship on failure to load or discharge the ship within the time agreed.
With the new system, it eases the process of vessel clearance for arrival and departure where shipping agents can share information almost immediately to numerous state agencies.
They include KMA, Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Ports Authority, State Department of Immigration, Port Health, National Environment Management Authority, Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service and the Kenya Coast Guard Service.
“ As part of our mandate for trade facilitation, the Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade), through the E-Maritime Module (Kenya Maritime Single Window System) seeks to provide harmonised and simplified ship to shore clearance procedures to the maritime stakeholders,” Kentrade says.
Migrating to the electronic platform will play a critical role in boosting cargo handing at the Port of Mombasa which serves up to 58 vessels a week, mainly container vessels, conventional vessels and oil tankers.