Drastic measures are being taken at the Port of Mombasa to solve a lack of capacity that is hampering automotive processing there. As the port strives to operate on a 24-hour basis, Kenyan Finance Minister John Michuki (pictured) has ordered the destruction of 740 vehicles and 7,000 containers worth hundreds of millions of Kenyan shillings. The vehicles, many of which have been vandalised and suffered corrosion, are to be crushed and sold as scrap metal.
According to the Kenya High Commission, the vehicles are in breach of a government regulation that stipulates that only cars under eight years’ old are allowed in the country. The Commission’s Commercial Counsellor, M S Mandu, told Automotive Logistics :Currently there are many cars lying at the port of Mombasa that were destined for the local market but they could not be cleared because they were well over eight years old by the time of landing in Mombasa. In normal circumstances, the importers of cars that have been denied entry into the country are expected to ship them back to the port of origin. But many of these importers do not want to incur the cost of doing so and therefore choose to abandon the cars at the Port of Mombasa, which has led to the current congestion at the port’s car yard.”
Cars in transit to other countries in the Great Lakes region are not affected by the action and the law does not extend to trucks or agricultural machinery, though Africa’s Daily Nation reports that transit vehicles without proper documentation will also be destroyed.
Mr Michuki’s delegation will return to port on November 10th to ensure the orders have been carried out.
Further measures to decongest the port include an injection of Sh1.5 billion ($21m) to the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) to buy equipment as lack of sufficient cranes has been cited as a factor in the slow movement of containers through the port. In August there were some 14,000 containers, almost twice the port’s capacity of 8,500 containers.