Traders are concerned over the growing storage bills due to cargo stuck at different entry ports, according to Uganda Cargo Consolidators Association.
Speaking in an interview last week, Mr Jackson Katende, the Uganda Cargo Consolidators Association spokesman, told Daily Monitor that the slowdown in the pace of clearing cargo at different ports of entry has created cargo pileups, thus resulting into an increase in storage costs.
“The slowdown in the pace of clearance and limited transport means has created problems for us, which has pushed us to the wall because cargo is taking long to leave ports. We are paying a lot of money just for storage,” he said.
Traders have only nine days within which they must clear their cargo out of ports of entry failure of which the have to pay for the extra days the cargo is stored at such points.
Storage costs for a container, Mr Katende said, stand between $100 to $120 or between Shs378, 000 or Shs454,000, which are a large additional cost for the traders.
Last week, Kenya Ports Authority said it would extend the free storage days from nine to 14 days.
However, according to Mr Katende, even the 14 days will not be sufficient given the pileups that have been seen in the last few weeks at different entry ports.
“Currently, delay in clearing of goods at ports of entry seems unavoidable especially in this Covid-19 period. No one prepared us for this. They should waive costs of storage,” he said.
Mr Mathias Kasamba, a Member of Parliament for the East African Legislative Assembly, said cargo trucks have reduced from 300 to about 100 trucks per day because of Covid-19, which presents transport challenges for traders and cargo clearance.
This has been exacerbated by the slowdown in the rate of clearance with trucks piling up at different border points across the region.
Some of the businesses have been closed for close to three months but they will be required to pay for accumulated cargo cost. “I am worried about how traders will meet storage costs yet they have not been working,” he said.
Source: All Africa
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