The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has further extended the free storage period for containers at its ports, which was due to end on 13 November 2020. The original free storage period was introduced by the KPA on 18 May 2020 for three months, then extended in August, principally intended to mitigate the adverse impact on trade of the Covid‑19 pandemic.
On 14 December, the KPA announced a further extension, effective from 10 December 2020, for either three or six months, depending on location. It will run for a further 90 days at Mombasa Port and the inland container depot in Embakasi, Nairobi (ICD‑Nairobi); and for six months at the Naivasha ICD.
The length of free storage time has also been increased. Transit importers at the Port of Mombasa and the ICD‑Nairobi will now get 14 days free storage, up from nine. Goods at the Naivasha ICD can be stored for free for up to 30 days, and transit export goods get 20 days of free storage, up from 15 days previously. Domestic exporters continue to enjoy a 15‑day free storage period instead of nine, while domestic importers have now been given a five‑day free storage period, up from the current four.
In addition to introducing the free storage measures to ease the effects of the pandemic, the Kenyan government is also keen to use such incentives to counter Tanzania’s initiatives to grab more market share from the Port of Mombasa for its Port at Dar es Salaam, particularly for transshipments to and from East Africa’s bordering landlocked nations. To this end, the KPA has also introduced a new volume‑based rebate to help boost the transshipment traffic through the Port of Mombasa and to encourage more countries to use the Naivasha ICD.