Rwandan importers are pushing for talks to resolve a longstanding problem of cargo that has overstayed at Tanzanian and Kenyan ports, and now face imminent auction to clear charges and penalties accrued due to delays attributed to the Covid-19.
The EastAfrican has learnt that 2,064 containers that arrived between December and May this year are stuck at the Dar es Salaam port, port of Mombasa and Naivasha ICD due to delays in processing logistics and paperwork.
This is in addition to introduction of new operational protocols governing borders and the drivers’ strike at borders of Benaco and Malaba respectively.
Importers say that while they had successfully received respective governments’ extension of free demurrage days from 14 days to 55 days, and nine days to 90 days for Tanzania and Kenya respectively, nothing substantive has taken place to resolve the matter.
The Rwanda Private Sector Federation’s Chamber of Commerce and Services director Joseph Akumuntu said the ports’ authorities, warehouse operators and revenue bodies continued counting Customs warehouse rent, port storage fees, and penalties thereof.
“Now the Tanzania International Container Terminal Services has threatened to auction our containers, notwithstanding several requests for the waiver, to which did not receive feedback. We are requesting the government to engage their Tanzanian and Kenyan counterparts to find a solution,” he said.
He added that accrued charges on some containers had grown way above the value of the stranded cargo.
Dar es Salaam port hosts a big number of the overstayed cargo with 2,000 containers while 64 are at Mombasa and Naivasha.
Arrival date for majority of them is February to May when effects of the coronavirus pandemic took a toll on the transport logistics chain.