Import & Export Procedures

IMPORT PROCEDURES

1. Before Placing the Order for the Goods

 

Step

Activity

Contact

Document Issued/Reference

1

Ensure you have a trade licence

Min. Trade

Licence

2

Ensure you have an import licence, if required

KRA

Licence

3

If it is food, drugs or chemical substances obtain permit where necessary

Port Health Office

Pharmacy & Poisons Board

Permit

4

For Agricultural products
Obtain plant import permit
Establish the phytosanitary requirements

KEPHIS

Permit
Phytosanitary requirements

5

Establish the Kenya standard for the product you are importing

KEBS

Standard Specification

6

Determine the goods you need to import in respect of

  • Description
  • Quality
  • Specification
  • Quantity

Exporting Supplier

Commerical Invoice
Packing List

7

Request the following information from the supplier:

§  Description of the goods

§  Technical specifications

§  Quantity

§  Price

§  Delivery period

§  Regulatory requirements (e.g. quality standards, health and safety standards)

Exporting Supplier

Standard Specification
Phytosanitary requirements
Commercial Invoice
Packing List

8

Check to ensure that the goods are not prohibited or restricted from importation

KRA

Second Schedule of EA Customs Management Act

9

Check to determine whether the goods are exempted from duty

KRA

Fifth Schedule of the EA Customs Management Act

10

Check to determine whether the goods attract countervailing and/or anti-dumping duties

KRA

EA Customs Management Act

11

Determine the cost of the goods to be imported

Exporting Supplier

Commerical Invoice

12

Organize for funding either internally or externally

Importer
Importer's Bank

Funds are available

13

Consult your bank and obtain advice on how to deal with the supplier

Importer's Bank

Financial advice



2. Ordering Goods

Step

Activity

Contact

Document Issued/Reference

1

Discuss with the selected supplier and agree on terms and enter into a contract

Exporting Firm

Contract
Order placed

2

Advise your supplier on the bank you will use

Importer's Firm

Bank Details

3

Make payment arrangements according to the contract

Importer's Firm

Exporting Firm

Advice on payments


3. Before Goods Arrive

Step

Activity

Contact

Document Issued/Reference

1

Obtain the documents that your bank/firm requires:

§  Commercial Invoice

§  Packing List

§  Bill of Lading/Airway Bill

§  Certficate of Conformity

Exporting Firm

 

2

Appoint a Clearing Agent

KIFWA/KRA

Bank Details

3

The Clearing Agent computes customs duty, port charges and transport charges required and advises you

Clearing Agent

 

4

The Clearing Agent makes arrangement for transport of the goods to your premises

Transporter/Forwarder

 

5

The Clearing Agent makes arrangement for transport of the goods to your premises

Clearing Agent

 

6

Ensure the relevant quality certificates for the goods are available 
Avail them to the Clearing Agent to clear with KEBS

KEBS

 

7

The Clearing Agent clears with KEPHIS, if necessary

KEPHIS

 

8

The Clearing Agent Clears with Port Health Office, if necessary

Port Health Office

 

4. Once Goods Arrive

Step

Activity

Contact

Document Issued/Reference

1

Customs processes the documents

KRA

 

2

Release Order is issued

KRA

 

3

Authentication of relevant compliance certificate and release of goods

KEBS
KEPHIS
Port Health Office

 

4

Port charges are paid and goods are released to importer or clearing agent

KPA

 

5

Goods are collected and transported

Transporter/Forwarder

 

6

Goods are received at your premises

Transporter/Forwarder

 

Border Crossing Rules and Regulations

It is important for trucker owners and their drivers to be acquainted with the rules and regulation governing cross border or transit transportation. This is important since countries have different requirements (e.g. axle load limits) for trucks domiciled to them.
Some of the general rules and regulations applicable to transit transportation are listed below. Other that are more specific will be given country by country below this.

  • A vehicle entering a foreign country shall comply with certain regulations of the foreign country, but also will be allowed to operate under certain regulations applicable to the country of registration
  • The vehicle shall have and display a valid certificate of fitness/inspection from the country of registration
  • The vehicle shall be licensed in the country of registration
  • The vehicle shall carry a road transport permit, covering the movement of goods being undertaken. The permit shall be valid and be available for production to the enforcement agencies in all countries.
  • The vehicle shall carry the receipt for the payment of the transit road user charges in the foreign country. The receipt shall be valid and be available for production to the enforcement agencies.

The vehicle shall comply with the axle load limits of the foreign country. As a rule of thumb, COMESA, EAC and SADC have agreed on the following limits:

Axle Type

Load Limit (in KGs)

Front Axle

8,000.00

Single Axle with Dual Tires

10,000.00

Tandem Axle Unit with Dual Tires

18,000.00

Tridem Axle Unit with Dual Tires

24,000.00

Gross Combination Mass (GCM)

56,000.00

 

Allowances

Limits (in %)

Weighbridge Allowance on Axles

5%

Weighbridge Allowance on gvm/gcm

5%

Note: These limits have been ratified by most countries in SADC and COMESA. EAC countries have not ratified them.


In the interest of trade facilitation, the vehicle should not have to comply with all the dimension limits of the foreign country, since vehicles cannot be altered to suit a foreign country’s dimensional requirements. Here some considerations are as follows:

  • The COMESA/EAC/SADC Tripartite is recommending an overall width limit of 2.6 meters. This is to accommodate the loading of ISO shipping containers within trailer sideboards. Some countries may have a 2.5 meter limit and, in the interest of trade facilitation, they have been requested to allow 2.6 meters.
  • The COMESA/EAC/SADC Tripartite is recommending an overall length limit of 18.5 meters for an articulated vehicle (horse and semi-trailer). This allows a semi-trailer to be well over the 12.5 meter limit in some countries. In the interest of trade facilitation, these countries have been requested to allow the 18.5 meters limit.
  • The COMES/EAC/SADC Tripartite is recommending an overall length limit of 22 meters for a combination of vehicles (truck and trailer, or interlink, or truck tractor with semi-trailer and trailer). Some countries do not allow this and negotiations are ongoing to achieve standardization across the East and Southern African region.
  • The overall height limit varies from 4.0 meters to 4.6 meters. The Tripartite agreement has agreed on 4.3 meters and, in the interest of trade facilitation, countries have been asked to accept vehicles up to this height limit.

Drivers shall have valid driver’s license which shall be acceptable to the foreign country. Some countries also require a driver who is moving goods or passengers, to have a valid professional driving permit, or equivalent. The foreign country should accept the licensing requirements of the driver’s home country.
Abnormal vehicles and/or those carrying abnormal loads, shall apply for an exemption permit from the relevant authority in the foreign country. This permit will give the conditions under which the movement of the abnormal loads shall be carried out
Vehicle carrying dangerous goods shall comply with the standards of the country of registration. The foreign country should accept these standards.
In addition to the above, buses shall carry a timetable and passenger list.
Vehicles shall carry adequate insurances for covering their companies’ liabilities in the event of accidents, damage to property and damage to or loss of goods.

Weighbridge Procedures

By law truck must be weighed at designated weighbridges to ascertain their axle load. The process involves:

  1. The truck driver presents the documentation required for weighbridge processing. The required documents differ depending on whether the goods are local or transit (See Documents)
  2. At the weighbridge the truck follows the queue to wait for its turn to be weighed by the weighing bridge officials
  3. When the truck turns arrives, the driver rolls up the truck onto the weighing bridge for weighing
  4. If the weight is within the set limits the truck driver is issued by a weighing receipt that captures the details of the truck and its axle load
  5. If the weight exceeds set limits, the truck goes back to the queue to be weighed a second time.
  6. A second confirmation of excess weight will result in the truck being impounded by the Kenya Police Service and court proceedings started against the truck and driver.
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