16th July 2024
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South Sudan cargo stuck in Mombasa over ECTN-related dispute

Author: Chany Ninrew | Published: Sunday, June 16, 2024

Offloading of Cargo in one of the Vessels that docked at Mombasa Port, Kenya on March 06, 2024. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

Bulks of commercial cargo heading to South Sudan are reportedly stuck at the Kenyan Port of Mombasa due to a dispute over the mandatory charges on Electronic Cargo Tracking Note (ECTN).

The stalemate came after Kenya customs agents rejected the ECTN introduced by the South Sudan Revenue Authority Commission for goods bound for the country, according to The Standard newspaper.

Kenya International Freight and Warehouse Association (KIFWA) told local media on Saturday the new levy has led to the delay in the clearing of cargo destined for South Sudan and could lead to congestion at the port.

KIFWA chairman Roy Mwanthi said since its introduction, more than 1,000 containers destined for South Sudan are lying at the port.

Mwanthi said the local customs agents were being forced to collect the prerequisite service charges of $350 on behalf of the South Sudan Revenue Authority.

The implementation of the ECTN system in South Sudan, a digital document used to monitor and track cargo movements to ensure compliance with regulations and enhance security, has brought several trade consequences to the country.

The cost implications associated with the regulation is feared to affect the overall cost of doing business for traders, who may either have no resources to pay the charge, or in turn, levy it on consumers.

On March 1, 2024, the South Sudan Commissioner for Customs Division, Brigadier General Aduot Ajang wrote a notice to clearing agencies introducing the ECTN.

The mandatory levy was adopted following the signing of an agreement between Juba and Ugandan firm Invesco Uganda Limited.

In April 2024, the Kenyan High Court reportedly imposed a temporary suspension on the implementation of the 350 US-dollar levy after local clearing agents challenged it in court.

High Court judge, Justice Gregory Mutai, certified the case as urgent and issued the suspension order – pending hearing of the lawsuit by the Kenyan clearing agents on April 9, 2024.

In a petition filed at the High Court in Mombasa, the Kenyan clearing agency sought a declaration that the levy to all imports headed to South Sudan is unconstitutional.

The petition wanted an order issued to quash the directive and prohibit the Mombasa Monitoring Station-National Revenue Authority of South Sudan from enforcing the directive.

The head of Kenya clearing agents said in March this year, that more than 400 containers destined for South Sudan were grounded at Kenyan port of Mombasa after traders refused to pay the levy.

In South Sudan, clearing agents at Nimule town in Eastern Equatoria State, previously said the imposition ECTN slowed down the clearance of goods and created a built-up of trucks at the border point.

 

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