Introduction of the Electronic Single Window system in Kenya, an automatic tool for clearing goods at boarder points has reduced a number of procedures by logistics movers from at least 10 to 2 depending on type of goods transported, saving time and resources.
Initially, logistics companies were forced to queue for long hours to obtain certifications from relevant bodies hence stalling cargo movement in the Country.
The new clearance system bring all clearing agencies under one roof, saving companies the tedious burden of moving from one office to anthor and the fear of losing documents.
According to the Kenya Trade Network Agency (KenTrade), the system has helped reduce clearance time at the port of Mombasa from previous 8-10 days to 3.
Cargo dwell at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) reduced by two days to one while clearance at the border now takes a single day down from three days.
The agency is optimistic that the automated system will accelerate efficiency in cross border business activities.
Kenya stands at position 153 out of 189 on the ease of cross boarder trading, according to a recent Ease of Doing Business report by World Bank hence automation of this system at all cargo entry points in Kenya is expected to better the ranking.
The single window system was bench-marked from Singapore, a country that is making wide economic strides.
The Single Window System creates a platform for submission, receipt and processing of trade-related cargo clearance documents at a single entry point
At least 10 institutions are involved in the cargo clearing process, but the key agencies that issue clearances are Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Police, and Kenya Bureau of Standards.
Others are the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate service, Port Health Authority, Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Ports Health Authority and Pharmacy and Poison Board.
On average, seven different documents were exchanged between these departments, forming a fertile corruption ground, slow cargo clearance hence high logistics costs in the region
All East Africa States and South Sudan are considering shifting to this system, a move that is expected to spur regional integration and create conducive business environment.
The Northern corridor currently is notoriously known for poor transport system, double taxation regime, bureaucracy and corruption that make the cost of doing business especially in the logistics sector the most expensive in the world.