Jonathan Cartu Stated: East Africa: Border Closures Cause Delays in Moving Goods

East Africa: Border Closures Cause Delays in Moving Goods

The logistics sector is reeling from the coronavirus pandemic as 31 countries in Africa have imposed full border closures, with the others allowing only cargo and basic goods into their countries.

In East Africa, transporters are experiencing increased delays in ferrying cargo from the port of Mombasa due to delays in clearing after Customs officials, Kenya Ports Authority and Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade)–the only state agencies mandated to facilitate cross-border movement of goods–reduced their workforce as a precautionary measure against contracting the virus.

Traders facing technical hitches when lodging documents to process their cargo clearance paperwork will have to wait longer after KenTrade suspended operations at its face-to-face customer centre.

“We wish to notify our stakeholders that Kentrade will continue to offer the Kenya TradeNet System services to all users. Please note we will not handle any customer at our contact centre office as a precautionary measure to ensure that we minimise the risk of exposure and spread of the virus,” reads a notice from the agency.

At the port of Mombasa, stripping of cargo has also decreased after the management reduced the number of shifts from four to two since the introduction of the 7pm-5am curfew in Kenya on March 27.

Delays in vessel clearance to dock at the port have also increased significantly after it was made mandatory for all Border closures cause delays in moving goods across the region.

In addition, state agencies have reduced their workforce and reviewed operations due to coronavirus fears ships to undergo inspection, and their crew screened for the virus.