The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has unveiled an online tool for processing of container operations and repatriation of empty ones. While the platform is expected to stay put even after the corona virus has been managed, the move was understandably fueled by the need to practice social distancing by eliminating unnecessary contact with staff and agents.
The online platform will eliminate any need for extra paperwork and is expected to make it easy to return empty containers by importers from the Inland Container Depot (ICD) located in Nairobi to the port of Mombasa by enabling shipping lines and agents to upload documents to the Container Automated Terminal Operating System.
Kenya ports Authority will utilize the paperless system in export receiving and handovers, eliminating the container position slips blamed for creating delays under the manual system. On a normal day, the Kenyan port receives in excess of 200 empty containers, while more than 150 others come in as export full containers.
Speaking on the development, Kenya Ports Authority head of Container Operations Edward Opiyo said the authority intents to eliminate any form of human contact in the process while reengineering the business process. For example, hard copies of export and import documentations and gate-in process will no longer be used.
He also added that the new system is expected to bring enhanced efficiencies as well as benefits at the port. Even though the new system will reduce the overall work, shipping agents will have to do electronic documentation on status of the container, to facilitate outbound planning and reconciliation. The agent will also advice on type of container and nature of cargo, weight, port of discharge and origin, if reefer – temperature to be set when plugging and consignments. Gate validations include that of truck details, container and KPA payments. During this period, operations at the port are expected to remain uninterrupted as no vessel will be denied entry to dock.