Shippers directed to extend empty container return period

Thursday, July 9th, 2020 00:00 |
Cargo at the Port of Mombasa. Photo/PD/File

DEMURRAGE: Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) has directed shipping lines to extend free period for returning empty containers to designated yards in Mombasa, to cushion importers and traders from current high demurrage charges arising from delays in cargo movement due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Transporters along the Northern-Corridor have been accruing demurrage penalties as a result of delayed clearance of cargo on transit at the border points due to Covid-19 restrictions imposed by the regional governments.

Demurrage is a fee payable to the owner of a chartered ship on failure to load or discharge the ship within the agreed time. 

The agency said it is important that penalties associated with delays in cargo clearance and return of empty containers reflect the prevailing Covid-19 circumstances.

Managing director George Okong’o said the maritime agency wants shipping lines, through their local shipping agents, to adjust demurrage penalties for transit traffic and local traffic.

For transit

“Shipping lines through their local shipping agents are directed to extend the free period on return of empty containers by additional seven days for transit and three days for local traffic respectively from the existing granted periods,” he said.

Okong’o said the directive should be active until the Covid-19 pandemic subsides and a further directive issued at the opportune time.

Tanzania has pushed shipping lines to extend the demurrage free period by between 10 and 25 days on different destinations, giving Dar es Salaam Port an edge over Mombasa. Truck drivers have continuously decried delays at border points, where Covid-19 checks are done.  

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