Importers and exporters using the port of Mombasa are ready for the full implementation of the Integrated Customs Management System (iCMS) in October.
The Kenya Revenue Authority has been introducing the iCMS system in phases in the port since 2019, starting with the handling of motor vehicles, bulk and export goods.
“KRA has planned to fully introduce the handling of containerized freight from October 22, 2021. After that, all imports and exports are to be processed via the iCMS system.
“We would like to ask you to inform all KSAA members about the intended change from MMS / Simba to the iCMS system”, wrote James Karugu, deputy commissioner of the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), in the letter of September 15th to the Kenya Ships Agent Association (KSA).
Juma Ali Tellah, chief executive of the KSAA, confirmed the KRA’s instruction, but added that the implementation of the iCMS had nothing to do with any apparent delays at the Malaba border or elsewhere.
“For the freight forwarders, iCMS helps to submit the manifest to the KRA system, which is then used by the freight forwarders to clear their freight through customs,” says Tellah.
Roy Mwanthi, chairman of the Kenyan International Freight and Storage Association, said the delays at the border were only a few days long.
The new system has interactive functions that eliminate redundant processes and automate all manual processes in the Simba system. In the iCMS, traders are required to file maritime manifestos for both import and export 48 hours prior to the arrival or departure of a ship.
KRA has set up customer support counters at various customs offices and in Long House, the KRA headquarters in Mombasa, in the port of Mombasa and on the border with Malaba to help shippers in difficulty. ”
Still, some traders are concerned about user challenges, especially at the border crossing points where the new custom surveillance system from the Kenya Trade Network Agency is being integrated into the Sea Cargo Release Module.
“We stand in long lines here on the border with Malaba. We don’t move. The growl is more than 35 km in Kenya. We have been taking more than three days from Mombasa to Kampala since last week, ”said Paul Lumumba, a Kenyan truck driver.
“The traffic jam is caused by customs and immigration at the moment. It takes us so long to go through the procedures and no one tells us why?
“The iCMS is heavily used by the freight forwarders. The vans weren’t even made aware of the areas in which they were deployed, ”said Mercy Ireri, executive director of the Kenya Transporters Association.
The iCMS was introduced in line with the demands of the World Trade Organization to simplify and harmonize international trade procedures. The iCMS includes the transmission of export or import documents in a one-window system and should reduce the clearing time by at least 60 percent. It replaces the Simba system which runs on multiple platforms and requires multiple points of authentication for users.