Pakistan’s rice consignments of some 1,500 containers have been stuck at the Kenyan seaport since January 20 due to the cancellation of license of two harbour yards. Pakistani rice exporters have been informed by Kenyan importers that the license of two port yards namely Auto Ports CFS and Portside CFS have been cancelled, after which 100 percent examination condition has been imposed on all consignments imported through these two terminals.
Leading rice exporter and former chairman Rice Exporters Association of Pakistan Abdul Rahim Janoo said that Reap had received several complaints from the rice exporters that their containers were stuck at Kenyan customs clearance points. He said that some 1,500 containers, carrying 37,500 metric tons of rice cargo, had been stuck at the Kenyan port since January 20, 2016, due to the cancellation of license of two port yards.
The value of consignments, held at these two CFS, was approximate $13 million and the rice exporters had already paid local taxes and duties, he added. He further said that in some cases, the importers had released shipments prior to the notification of the CFS cancellation, while, the authorities had refused to release the remaining shipments until the issues between the CFS and Kenya Revenue Authority was resolved.
Janoo said that the importers were facing huge storage and demurrage bills as a result of this, which was greatly harmful to Pakistan’s exports to Kenya. He said that Rafique Suleiman, Chairman, FPCCI Rice Export Committee and immediate past chairman Reap, was currently in Kenya to resolve the issue and on Thursday he met Pakistani High Commissioner and would meet with the port officials on Friday to ensure the release of the containers.
Janoo said that so far some 40 containers had been released after a complete examination and delay in the release of the containers was increasing the cost of the commodity. Meanwhile, Chaudhry Muhammad Shafique, Reap Chairman and Noman Ahmed Shaikh, Senior Vice-Chairman Reap, had requested the Government of Pakistan and High Commission of Pakistan in Kenya to intervene and coordinate with the Kenyan authorities to expedite the process of releasing the containers.
It may be mentioned here that Pakistan is one of the largest exporters of rice to Kenya (export value $188,326,419 in the fiscal year 2015). The issues being faced by importers in Kenya will have a negative impact on the exporters in the form of late payments, which may lead to a decline in exports.
Source: Business Recorder