President Uhuru Kenyatta’s recent directive for expeditious clearing of imports at the port of Mombasa was aimed at improving business and growing the economy.
The Kenya Ports Authority, Customs and other players involved in clearing goods were tasked to reorganise their operations, cut red tape and work for 24 hours to clear the backlog.
Clearly, this is not a difficult feat. It happens everywhere. Indeed, the sluggishness explains the reason why Mombasa is losing its lustre as the strategic gateway to the region.
Whereas the intention is clear, however, it seems logistics remain a challenge. In particular, importers, transporters and clearing agents have raised issues about insecurity at the port.
They say there are no proper security arrangements at night to guarantee the safety of those working at the port or even the goods. Even when goods are cleared, transporting them at night is perilous.
The point, therefore, is that the reforms being carried out at the port to enhance efficiency must put emphasis on security within and outside the port and proper transport system, as well as ancillary services.