By Samuel Sanya
Ugandans are likely to experience higher commodity prices for most imports starting December, if proposals to increase charges at the Kenyan port of Mombasa are enacted.
Officials have pointed to high inflation, and tough economic conditions for the proposed increments, adding that a regular review of rates is healthy.
According to the proposal, port and harbour dues are set to rise to $13 per 100 gross tonnes (GT) from $12, minimum port and harbour dues have been shifted to $150 from $100 per operation.
The dues of securing a ship at the Mombasa port (mooring) will rise by $0.3 to $3.3per 100GT per operation subject to a revised minimum of $200 from $150.
Similar increases have been proposed for security and marine services, pilotage and tug services, dockage, stevedoring containers, shore handling, and wharfage services.
An analysis by the NewVision indicates that a single 100-tonne, 20-metre container handled at the Mombasa port could incur an additional $22.34 before it leaves for Uganda.
The cost will be passed on to consumers through higher commodity prices and higher contract estimates.
Charles Kareba, a board member of the Uganda Shipper’s Council, queried the decision by the KPA to revise rates without consulting the Ugandan freight and logistics industry.
“Why should the KPA continue to collect dues for wharfage, and handle cargo, yet KPA are the landlord at the Mombasa port. This tender should be given to private players to enhance competition and bring down rates,” he observed.
Kareba made the observations at a stakeholders’ dialogue with KPA bosses at the Imperial Royale Hotel in Kampala.
Stephen Magera, the assistant commissioner for trade at the Uganda Revenue Authority noted that quantity discounts should be awarded to logistics firms and individuals at the Mombasa port.