By Ibrahim Kasita
LOCAL importers and traders want Kenya Port Authority (KPA) to offer blanket tax waiver on containers confiscated due to accumulated storage charges before new tariffs come into force next April.
KPA suspended the levying of storage fees on September 1 to allow importers with arrears clear before the new rates are implemented.
KPA has proposed that imports, exports and transit containers should attract a uniform tariff of $50 (about sh92,000) for a 20ft container and $75 for a 40ft container.
The authority also intends to introduce a $3 levy per gross tonnage as cost of offering security at the port and a $20 charge per tonne for wrong declarations at the conventional cargo area and a $20 fee per tonne for non-declaration of dangerous cargo.
KPA has also proposed to raise the levy for late submission of a cargo manifest for 20ft containers from $25 to $35, and from $50 to $55 for 40ft containers.
Marine services will be charged up to $5.50 per 100 gross tonnage for pilotage from $4.50, while tug services will cost $14 per 100 gross tonnage per hour from $12.
During KPAâ€™s presentation on the new proposed tariffs to stakeholders for discussion and consideration at the Serena Hotel Kampala on Tuesday, traders said containers confiscated prior to the suspension of storage charges should be handed over to the owners to speed up the clearance process.
â€œMay you kindly (KPA) release our containers for continued business relationship in the region.
â€œWe sincerely request you to offer blanket waivers on all our goods confiscated before September 1,â€ said Issa Ssekito, the Kampala City Traders Association spokesperson.
â€œWe use a lot of money importing these goods but we have failed to pay storage fees. We think that giving us a waiver would facilitate quick clearance of containers at the port,â€ Seekito said.
Traders said shipping lines charged exorbitant fees. Abdalla Mwaruwa, the KPA managing director, said the confiscated goods were with Kenya Revenue Authority customs department for scrutiny.
â€œAfter the exercise the issue will be discussed in the higher level,â€ Mwaruwa said.
KPA corporate services manager Gichiri Ndua said the review was meant to enhance competitiveness, improve service delivery and rationalise the prices.
He said the adjusted tariffs would match the changing business environment.
Ndua said there was no price increment except where an â€˜oversightâ€™ has to be corrected and the real income of the authority had fallen.
He said the proposals feature price reduction of stevedoring and shore handling on 20ft containers and shore handling and stevedoring in general cargo.
Proposed tariff groupings range from contain terminal, conventional cargo area to wharfage and oil terminals are reviewed.
KPA proposed that imports, exports and transit containers should attract a uniform tariff. For instance, a 20ft container attracts a flat rate of $50, while the 40ft container is charged $75.
The authority intends to introduce$3 per gross tonnage as cost of offering security at the port and a $20 per tonne for wrong declaration of weight at the conventional cargo area and $20 per tonne for non-declaration of dangerous cargo.
KPA has proposed to raise the levy for late submission of a cargo manifest for 20ft containers from $25 to $35, and from $50 to $55 for 40ft containers.
Marine services will be charge up to charge $5.50 per 100 gross tonnage for pilotage up from $4.50 while tug services will cost $14 per 100 gross tonnage per hour instead of $12
This is the first review in 10 years and KPA said the current tariffs are outdated and do not reflect change in cost of doing business.