Mombasa Port Boosts Efficiency: Pre-Arrival Clearance Slashes Wait Times Amid 6.5% Import Surge

Container Ship In Import Export And Business Crane ,

Surge in Import Traffic

Mombasa Port has seen a 6.5% rise in import traffic, reaching 28,445 thousand metric tonnes to mid 2024, up from 26,713 thousand metric tonnes in mid 2023. This surge has prompted key agencies to enhance the pre-arrival clearance process, expediting cargo handling.

Pre-arrival Processing

The Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Ports Authority, Kenya Bureau of Standards, and Kenya Trade Network Agency have implemented pre-arrival processing. This allows importers to submit documentation electronically before goods arrive, enabling quicker verification and reducing delays at the port.

Benefits and Implementation

Pre-arrival processing reduces congestion and clearance times. It integrates systems like the Integrated Customs Management System and the Kilindini Waterfront Automated Terminal Operating System, allowing customs declarations using the bill of lading. Importers must submit declarations and payments at least 48 hours before the vessel’s arrival to benefit from this system.

Requirements for Smooth Operation

Successful pre-arrival clearance relies on automated systems for electronic data exchange, advance electronic documentation submission, coordinated border management, timely release decisions by customs, and comprehensive post-clearance audits to ensure accuracy and authenticity.

Detailed Import Data

  • Dry General Cargo: Increased by 9.3%, from 11,680 to 12,771 thousand metric tonnes.
  • Dry Bulk Volumes: Rose by 4.8%, from 6,229 to 6,525 thousand metric tonnes.
  • Bulk Liquid Imports: Grew by 4.0%, reaching 9,159 thousand metric tonnes.
  • Total Transit Volume: Increased by 11.5%, from 10,234 to 11,413 thousand metric tonnes.

Regional Transit Trends

  • Uganda: Saw a decrease in its share of total transit from 71.5% to 62.3%, with volumes dropping from 7,319 to 7,115 thousand metric tonnes.
  • Ethiopia: More than doubled its transit volume from 6,915 to 14,383 metric tonnes.
  • D.R. Congo and South Sudan: Increased transit volumes by 56.9% and 52.1%, respectively.


The integration and enhancement of pre-arrival processing systems at Mombasa Port demonstrate a significant improvement in handling increased import traffic. By streamlining documentation and clearance processes, the port aims to maintain efficient operations despite growing demands. This collaborative effort among key agencies showcases a successful model of modernized logistics and trade facilitation.

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