Importers get longer free storage window at Mombasa Port


Cargo containers at the Port of Mombasa in September last year. The Kenya Ports Authority has doubled the free cargo storage window for domestic importers.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit | Nation Media Group

The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has doubled the free cargo storage window for domestic importers to four days from two previously, handing relief to thousands hard-pressed for cash to clear their consignments.

In the new review, the  $45 (Sh 6,585) and $90 (Sh 13,171) demurrage fees that were previously charged on the seventh day will now be charged on the 21st day-- giving relief to importers and exporters whose cargo delay on various port facilities within the country.

Previously, local port users were charged a demurrage fee after the expiry of two days but in the new tariffs, traders have four days to clear the cargo from port facilities before it starts attracting storage fees.

In a public notice, KPA has also reduced storage scales from four to two which traders have described as a relief.

“KPA wishes to announce to customers in the domestic market (Kenya) the adjustment of Storage Scales for import containerized cargo handles at the port of Mombasa and Inland Container Deports (ICDs). This is aimed at simplifying the storage regime and easing tariff interpretation among users of our services and facilities and the storage scales used to compute storage charges have been reduced from four to two scales,” read the notice.

In the new adjustment, a 20-foot container will attract a demurrage charge of $30 (Sh 4,390) from the 5th day to the 21st day whereas a 40-foot container will be charged $60 (Sh 8,781) for the same period.

In the second scale, local importers and exporters whose cargo have overstayed for 21 days will be charged $45 (Sh 6,585) and $90 (Sh 13,171) for 20 and 40 feet container, respectively, in the tariff schedule which took effect on September 15, 2023.

Previously, a 20 feet container that of 40 feet could attract demurrage from day 2 for $30 (Sh4,390) and $60 (Sh8,781respectively and $35 (Sh5,122) and $40 (Sh5,854) for 20 feet for the 6th day for 20 feet container. A 40-foot container during the 6th day was charged $80 (Sh11,708).

In the old rates, all containers above seven days were charged $45 and $90 per day, the same rate charged for a delay of 21 days in the new scale.

Mombasa Kenya International Freight and Warehouse Association (Kifwa) chairman Leonard Njiru said the extension is a relief to importers and exporters locally using Mombasa port.

“We have been discussing this issue with KPA since May this year after extended transit cargo handlers’ free storage period and the new scale will cushion local cargo dealers. This will help traders in saving a lot of demurrage charges which they pay to KPA,” said Mr Njiru.

In May this year, KPA announced the extension of the free storage period for transit export containers (from neighbouring countries from the normal 15 to 20 days leaving out domestic port users.