Airlift 2.0: Qatari Man Makes History Flying 4,000 Cows

Australian Dairy Cows. CREDITS |
Australian Dairy Cows. CREDITS |


If Eid-ul-Fitri falls before my next blog, please receive my Eid Mubarak best wishes upfront.


The shift in global weather patterns as a result of global warming coupled with poor policies and planning by some governments in the world have led to widespread shortages of basic food commodities.

This is arguably true for Kenya and our East African neighbours who are struggling with the high cost of maize meal, popularly known as Unga in local parlance.

Following a diplomatic tiff and ultimate showdown between Qatar and her Gulf neighbours including Saudi Arabia, where most of Doha’s fresh milk and milk products came from; there is a growing acute shortage of milk in the world’s richest country per capita.

Having already mentioned that Qatar is the world’s richest country per capita, it goes without saying that some of its citizens have very deep pockets.

Deep enough to import 4,000 dairy cows to fill the void caused by the collapse of milk supply by Saudi Arabia and her former allies.

Moutaz Al Khayyat is the defiant Qatari Businessman who intends to fly the 4,000 expectant dairy cows from Australia and the USA. “This is the time to work for Qatar,” Al Khayyat, who is also chairman of Power International Holding, said in an interview with Bloomberg.

Al Khayyat had already setup sheds for the cows which he initially planned to ship in September to his expansive farm – equivalent to 70 football stadia in the outskirts of Doha – where he already keeps sheep for milk and meat.

But after his country was ostracized, he decided to expedite the plan by flying in the cows instead of shipping them in.

Transporting livestock by air is no new occurrence and has been happening since 1924 when KLM flew Nico (a bull) from Rotterdam to Paris.

But the sheer scale of Al Khayyat’s plan is unprecedented.

Numbers Tell it All

Here are some statistics to help you contextualize and wrap your head around this logistical phenomenon:

The distance from Canberra, Australia to Doha, Qatar is approximately 12,250 kilometres and would take about 16 hours nonstop;

The distance from Texas, USA to Doha, Qatar is 13,000 kilometres and would take about 17 hours nonstop;

It would take approximately 40 to 60 Qatar flights to ferry the cows each of which weighs about 590 kilograms;

Airlifting the cows will cost the businessman $8 million.

Success of Animal Cargo Transport

Air transport is considered the most humane and safest mode of transporting live animals.

It’s safety however boils down to the ability of controlling three environmental factors that include: cargo compartment carbon dioxide concentration, humidity and temperature.

For optimal health of livestock aboard, the plane’s Environmental Control System must be carefully monitored while remembering that air conditioning performance are affected by the ambient air temperature

While a unique set of Standard Operating Procedures must be developed for Al Khayyat’s unique Airlift, the International Air Travel Authority (IATA) provides the Live Animals Regulations (LAR) that must be adhered to whenever transporting live animals.

The regulations are the global standard and the essential guide to transporting animals by air in a safe, humane and in a cost-effective manner.

Considering all these factors that have to be considered, you’d wonder how much preparations went into ensuring optimum conditions for all the animals, not to mention humans, that went into Noah’s Ark hundreds of years ago!

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The Logistics of Unga ‘Revolution’

Maize meal flour stocked in a local supermarket

May 2017 was not the first time Unga, or maize meal flour, made news headlines after its retail price reached record highs.

In 2011, many Kenyan citizens grappled with the escalating prices of fuel and food, and especially – as you may have caught on by now: Unga.

The original ‘Unga Revolution’ was spearheaded by convener of Bunge la Wananchi – Women’s’ Caucus, Emily Kwamboka (activist) on May 31 2011.

Kwamboka mobilized and led protesters in Nairobi’s Central Business District in demonstrations decrying the high cost of living and particularly the price of Unga, which then stood at KES 120 for a 2-kilo packet.

The then-Prime Minister, Raila Odinga came out and met the protesters outside his Office Block along Harambee Avenue and asked for 21 days for a solution to be delivered. Whether a solution was given within the 21 days is a story for another day or blog…

Fast forward to the current shortage of the staple that has sent empty bellies rambling resultant to retail prices spiralling upward from an average of KES 120 to KES 165. Being an electioneering year, politics have taken the centre-stage on Unga.

Amidst all the Unga Politics however, what has emerged clearly is that the importance of the logistics industry in dealing with the Unga shortage cannot be gainsaid.

Although silent players in business most of the time, logistics were greatly considered and discussed when 29,900 metric tons were first imported into Kenya from Mexico in mid-May 2017, within a record five days!

Kenyans took to Social Media and poked holes into the Government’s theory on how maize made its way from Mexico to Kenya in such a short time considering paperwork itself takes quite some time.

The Government of Kenya through Transport PS – Dr Paul Mwangi tried to clear the air by stating that Mexican maize had been Warehoused in Durban (South Africa) and transhipped to Kenya; explaining the quick turnaround.

The devil really is in the details. Whether or not the maize was from South Africa or Mexico or from a vessel that had been loaded with maize and was in the high seas speculating (as had been alleged by PS Mwangi), one thing is for sure: Sea Freight was involved and KES 90 Unga was available on our shelves and on the table of the 80 percent of Kenyans who consume it as staple.

Because Kenyans love Unga so much – to the tune of consuming three million bags a month – another vessel docked at the Kenyan port yesterday (June 19) with the precious Maize which will be processed to Unga.

To reach the various parts of the country in the shortest time possible the staple will be transported aboard the recently launched cargo trains on the Standard Gauge Railway, the much slower railway service managed by Rift Valley Railways and trucks.

Today I recognise the much-uncelebrated logistics players who make the world go around and more so those who meet the strenuous demands of emergency logistics. You all deserve a pat on the back.

As I thank you for stopping by to read this post, I urge you to go grab the subsidised maize meal before it runs out of stock! Happy Scrambling!

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CSR: What Have You Done?

Sidoman Challenge Cup - Rhamu, Mandera County.
Sidoman Challenge Cup – Rhamu, Mandera County.


Corporate social responsibility, often abbreviated “CSR,” is a corporation’s initiatives to assess and take responsibility for the company’s effects on environmental and social wellbeing.

The term generally applies to efforts that go beyond what may be required by regulators or environmental protection groups.

CSR may also be referred to as “corporate citizenship” and can involve incurring short-term costs that do not provide an immediate financial benefit to the company but instead promote positive social and environmental change.

Companies can invest in local communities in order to offset the negative impact their operations might have.

A natural resources firm that begins to operate in a poor community might build a school, offer medical services or improve irrigation and sanitation equipment.

Similarly, a company might invest in research and development in sustainable technologies, even though the project might not immediately lead to increased profitability.

In order to account for the importance of social and ecological considerations in doing business, some organizations advocate the concept of the “triple bottom line”: social, environmental and economic or “people, planet, profit”.

CSR is titled to aid an organization’s mission as well as serve as a guide to what the company represents for its consumers.

Business ethics is the part of applied ethics that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that can arise in a business environment. ISO 26000 is the recognized international standard for CSR.

Private sector organizations adhere to the triple bottom line (TBL). It is widely accepted that CSR adheres to similar principles, but with no formal act of legislation.

Sidoman Investment Limited, for instance, is working with communities in education and sports among other CSR activities.

In 2016, Sidoman through its CSR activities donated Shs 980,000 worth football jersey kits, league sponsor to players in Makadara grounds in Mombasa, Rhamu in Mandera and also formed a league where the players were competing for the 1st and 2nd place spot in the respective leagues.

The donation net is expanded the current year 2017, with more teams on board, a bit bigger budget and demands expected.

Commissioning the league, I noted that the donation of the playing kits is part of a larger entity in working with communities in improving talents.

Our team also noted that other than granting a company the “social license” to operate in a particular market, CSR also impacts a firm’s brand equity and profitability.

Sidoman Investment Limited stand committed to improving the quality of life in our society. In this regard, the company has been supporting needy deserving projects, institutions, and individuals around the county through its Corporate Social Responsibility program and in turn creating long-term relationships.

Examples of good practice of CSR in the country abound, more so with for-profit corporations, pioneered by those affiliated to American, European and Japanese multinationals.

Companies in Kenya have taken to CSR with gusto in the last about five years improving staff welfare and work environment, embracing transparency and accountability in their business transactions, ethically improving profitability, self-regulation and implementing community development programs.

However, it is the community component that is highly visible to most people and gives companies the much sought after enviable public image.

Companies have been involved in various activities in sports, environment, health, education, and training, the needy in society and even national leadership and governance.

Sidoman Challenge Cup Winners

CSR, therefore, is not just a goodwill gesture by organizations wanting to look good to the public in order to hike their profits.

It is a prerequisite for good corporate leadership and governance as well as sustained operation and profitability. CSR is, in fact, a corporate competitive marketing strategy that ensures high organizational and product visibility thereby branding the business as an organization that cares about its consumers, the community it does business with and other stakeholders.

That is why in many cases, an organization will prefer to sponsor a CSR activity with one of the company’s products such as “Oldtown Premier League proudly sponsored by Sidoman Investment Limited”.
At Sidoman we continue to lead from the front with innovative products and services that solve our client’s problems. We offer our clients a one-stop shop for all their logistics needs.

Commitment to our clients is excellence in delivery that is what drives every Sidoman employee to deliver beyond the expectation of our clients. The employees form the bedrock of the company. A wealth of experience, constant training and periodic fine tuning of processes keep us efficient and competitive.

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Welcome: Women in the Logistics World



The whole month of March celebrates women, with the world joining in to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th.  As countries around the world continue to celebrate women, we at Sidoman Logistics would also like to celebrate our home grown heroines, like Amina Mohamed, and other great women who are making it in this mostly male-dominated world.

Supply and demand are needed for most industries to flourish, but without transport and logistics, this wouldn’t be possible. Our work usually involves understanding our customers’ needs, developing relationships with suppliers, ensuring that goods are transported on time and finding ways of minimizing the cost of transporting goods.

The transport and logistics industry is a field that most women do not get involved in, yet it plays a very big role in the country’s economy. In this industry, you will find yourself dealing with importation and exportation of commercial goods, clearing and forwarding, and moving the goods from the various ports of entries to where they are needed. It is an important yet overlooked industry.

This has a lot of exciting and lucrative career options that most people miss out on because most people over look it. This shortage of qualified candidates results in exciting careers. Careers include warehouse, storage and inventory management, transport management and planning, and engineering.

We work in a high-pressure environment and we salute all women who not only manage to work in such an environment but, actually excel in it.  A lot of people will depend on you in this industry, which needs you to be diligent and learn to plan ahead. You also need to be flexible as some unplanned for situations usually come up.


Logistics touches on every other sector in the world, and this means that in addition to it needing drivers and warehouse workers, the industry also requires professionals in other sectors such as business development and customer services. The logistics industry has in recent years been working to attract a more diverse workforce, but it also needs to focus on hiring women in positions where they are visible so as to inspire and encourage other women.

Sidoman Logistics is excited to be a part of this industry that is all about moving things, storing and supplying anything and everything, from people to animals, to goods this adventurous age where more and more women are taking up the challenge and opting for less traditional careers.

Happy Women’s History Month!



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Three Documents You Need When Importing

After earlier discussing the clearing and forwarding procedure in Kenya, this post will look at the three main documents that you will need when importing.

The three documents are the Import Declaration Form(IDF), the Certificate of Compliance and the Bill of Lading.

Goods being offloaded to a Sidoman Truck at the Port of Mombasa. Some shipping Terms may be difficult to understand [Image: Sidoman]
Goods being offloaded to a Sidoman Truck at the Port of Mombasa. Some shipping Terms may be difficult to understand [Image: Sidoman]
The Import declaration Form (IDF)

An Import Declaration Form (IDF) is required for all shipments with an invoice value above USD1,000 and/or any with total weight exceeding 70 Kgs and/or those whose description include Spare parts.


The importer applies for the IDF from the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) platform through a custom agent, but may consult Sidoman for purposes of Customs classification.

Most goods imported into Kenya are subject to an import declaration fee of 2.25% of the value of the goods, the minimum amount being KES5,000. The importer needs to identify if the goods they are importing are subject to the fee, or if they are exempted.

Once the fee is paid, you will obtain the relevant IDF forms prior to importing the goods. This fee is separate from and additional to, any other tax which might also be charged on the import, such as duty, excise and VAT.

The IDF contains key information such as

The Value of the cargo – Important for tax calculation

Quantity– Make sure it is detailed and correct

Quality– This information should be backed up by an inspection. Bodies such as the  Kenya  Bureau  of  Standards may  be  may be requested to determine if your goods meet the country’s standards.  Test  Certificates  from  accredited  bodies may be required in some instances.

Classification (HS Code) – Different HS codes attract different taxes. Ensure you have the correct certification.

Certificate of Compliance

The  Kenya  Bureau  of  Standards  has  appointed  certain  agents  (INTERTEK,  SGS) for the pre-export conformity inspection of the commodities that require inspection. These agents will issue to the Shipper/Supplier a Certificate of Conformity and the Test Results. An IDF will be required before any inspection can be performed.

The full list of goods that will need inspection can be found on

It is important to plan ahead for this requirement as an importer, because the testing and issuing of the certificate can take time.

Master bill of lading (B/L)

This document covers goods that are transported by sea. It is signed by the carrier and serves as evidence of the contract of transport containing the conditions of transport, and as a document of title by which possession of the goods can be transferred.

Typically a B/L is issued in a set of three signed originals, one of which must be presented to claim the goods.

The B/L contains details such as:

Consignee – The full names and address of the receiver. This identifies the tax payer to the KRA.

The place of delivery

Description of the cargo – Always mention the actual number of packages

Container Freight Station (CFS) consigning – All containerized local imports are normally transferred to a private CFS assigned by the ports authorities so as to decongest the port. Dangerous cargo are the only exceptions.

Importation of goods into the country can get confusing at times, and that is why Sidoman Logistics is here to hold your hand and make the process an easy and stress-free for you.


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KRA Flags Off Regional Electronic Cargo Transit System

KRA Flagging off the first Truck: Photo credit: DAILY NATION
KRA Flagging off the first Truck: Photo credit: DAILY NATION

Today’s trade environment is challenging and complex, and there is increasing need for enterprises to keep track of their goods on transit.

Maintaining the integrity of goods is a crucial aspect of logistics because these goods are hauled through different territories, across countries and between customs controlled areas, such as border towns, inland port terminals, storage warehouses and container freight stations.

Starting Wednesday 01 March 2017, the Kenya Revenue Authority will be tracking all trucks that traverse Kenya to cross the borders to our neighbours, Rwanda and Uganda.

The KRA this week commissioned the Regional Electronic Cargo Transit System (RECTS) program.

This is a highly sophisticated solution that has been implemented with a view of tracking the movements of containers and vehicles on transit.

It replaces the pre-existing Electronic Cargo Transit System (ECTS).

Under the previous system, cargo and freight carriers were required to part with KES 120,000 for installation of tracking devices on their truck engines as well a monthly fee payment of KES 10,000 for the same.

Transporters will now be relieved of this burden because the new electronic tag is free.

The first truck under the new RECTS was flagged off by the Chairman of the KRA board, Edward Sambili, on Wednesday.

The project was financed by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DfiD).

It solves systemic processes that the KRA states were “tedious and easy to manipulate” in the previous system.

RECTS is likely to facilitate trade along the Northern Corridor by lowering the cost and time of doing business for traders along this route.

The system is also expected to contain theft and diversion of goods originating from the Port of Mombasa and destined for markets across our East African borders.

More importantly, for KRA, the system will prevent tax evasion. The system was mooted during consultative meetings at the Heads of State Summit in Kigali back in 2014.

In a nutshell, the RECTS is a harmonized system that connects the customs departments in Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.

It offers Central Monitoring Centres (CMCs) in these three neighbour countries that operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The long term plan is to encompass the entire East African Region.

Within the system, there are also a dozen (12) Rapid Response Units drawn from security agencies and customs officers in the region.

RECTS comprises smart gates and automatic number plate recognition at the points of entry and exit at country borders.

This does away with the need for manual recording of data as was the case before.

There is likely to be some significant time saving for transporters wishing to have their trucks cleared.

The introduction of the Regional Electronic Cargo Transit System is a welcome move.

It is likely to bring along better cross-border coordination and tracking of goods in transit, prevention of unwanted diversions and transparency to stakeholders.

There will also be more efficient compliance with the laws of transportation.

And most likely, the Kenya Revenue Authority will be bursting at its seams with increased revenue collection. 

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Role of Clearing and Forwarding Agents

You have probably heard of the term Clearing and Forwarding Agents. You probably know that they have something to do with – well – clearing and forwarding cargo at ports of entry.

But what else is there to it? What is the role of clearing and forwarding agents? Where can I find clearing and forwarding agents in Kenya? What really do clearing and forwarding agents do?

This blog will make an attempt at explaining further the role of clearing and forwarding agents in Kenya.

Simply put, clearing and forwarding agents are the logistics services providers that assist you in the handling and management of your cargo.

They are part of the international supply chain, helping in delivering goods from source to destination.

Clearing and forwarding agents often have contracts with a carrier or several carriers to move the goods from the manufacturer or the supplier. The carriers could be shipping lines, airlines or rail operators.
holiday and logistics

If you are importing goods from Dubai for example, a clearing and forwarding agent will assist you in processing all the necessary documentation.

Just like in most other parts of the world, clearing of cargo at ports of entry is highly regulated by legislation and excessive paperwork.

Some of this paperwork is often complicated, and one wrong move can result in you being smacked with heavy penalties for defaulting legal requirements.

Some of the typical documents that need to be processed and submitted to the Customs authority are the goods purchase invoice, import declaration and the bill of lading.

In this regards, the customs and clearing agent is the third-party link between you and the custom authorities.

Once all your shipment is legally declared, necessary taxes paid and all paperwork done away with, the freight can then be delivered to you as the consignee in the manner you prefer.

In Kenya, an experienced Customs Clearing agent will usually assist with tariff classifications, audits and detailed costings of shipments.

Their business systems will ordinarily be integrated with other systems, for example, the KWATOS system or the SIMBA Tradex system by Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

Their systems will also normally be linked to that of major airlines or shipping lines that ferry cargo to Kenya.

The Kenya Revenue Authorities guidelines stipulate that a clearing and forwarding agent must be a registered firm and a member of a recognized clearing & forwarding association (KIFWA). This is in a bid to ensure that there is some regulation in the industry.

Having known all this, if you are searching for the best clearing and forwarding agent in Kenya, your search ends here.

Sidoman clearing and forwarding services are timely and cost effective. We are stationed in all major ports of entry and airports in Mombasa, Nairobi and Eldoret.

Our services extend to the full range of clearing and forwarding of freight from designated international markets.

We have a strong support system with our business partners anchored on our longstanding business relationship with the Kenya Revenue Authority customs department. Make a call today to our customs agent and let us walk you through.

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Clearing and Forwarding Procedure in Kenya

More and more Kenyans are seeking to import goods from outside the country either for business or personal purposes.

Are you stuck, wondering how to go about importing goods into Kenya? This article will elaborate the procedure and attempt to spell it out clearly.

In order to import any commodity into Kenya, you as an importer will have to procure the services of a clearing agent.

The clearing agent will process all the paperwork on your behalf through the SIMBA Online Platform by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA).

You need a number of documents for your freight to go through the entry point.

As a basic, you will need the import declaration form, the certificate of compliance (if applicable) and the bill of lading.

We will be looking at each of these documents in greater detail in future blog posts.

Clearing agents have to be licensed by the customs department of KRA.

There has recently been some discord among the freight forwarding agents concerned with delayed registration and licensing for the year 2017.

This has since been cleared after the KRA issued a public notice to try and quell the discontent.

The notice reads, in part:

“Arising from several inquiries regarding the renewal of the Customs Agents licenses for the year 2017, the Customs & Border Control Department wishes to clarify that the Customs Agents licenses issued for the year 2016 are still valid.”

The notice goes on to say that the 2016 licenses are valid up to April 2017 in a bid to facilitate a smooth renewal process.

This means that all clearing agents that hold 2016 can still carry out business up to April of this year.

Imports being offloaded from a ship. [Image: courtesy]
Imports being offloaded from a ship. [Image: courtesy]

Usually, there are some fees payable to the authorities whenever you import goods into Kenya.

For example, if you import a used vehicle from Japan, you will initially pay the cost of the car.

In addition, you will pay the shipping freight insurance fees (CIF).

Upon reaching the port, the vehicle will be subjected to an import declaration fee (IDF) of 2.25% of the CIF Value. This is subject to a minimum of KES 5,000.

The Customs Department will assess duty payable depending on the value of the item and the duty rate relevant to the consignment.

In Kenya and in the wider East African region, the East African Community Common External Tariff (CET) is the basis for laying out the duty rates of imported items is available for all imports.

All containerized local imports into Kenya are usually transferred to a separate container freight station (CFS) assigned to the specific vessel by the Kenya Ports Authority.

This is usually done in order to decongest the port.

Once your cargo is properly declared and certified by the authorities, your clearing agent will inform you that it is ready for collection.

Sidoman Investment is here to hold your hand and walk you through the importation process.

Find out today from our help desk by calling us and letting us take charge of delivering your consignment from the source to your preferred destination, efficiently and effectively.

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Kenya: Clearing Agents Go-Slow Cripples Port Activities

On Monday, February 2017, a section of the Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association (KIFWA) held a press conference to announce an intended halt to collection of taxes on behalf of importers and exporters as well as registration of any new custom entries.

In addition, the Association members announced their intention to desist from clearing any cargo from any customs frontier.


Members of Clearing and Forwarding agencies Protest delays in licensing by KRA Customs department [Image:]
Members of Clearing and Forwarding agencies Protest delays in licensing by KRA Customs department [Image:]

This drastic decision has been arrived at following acts by the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) that clearly hamper the operations of certain players in the clearing and forwarding industry in Kenya through delays in the issuance and renewal of operating licenses.

As of today, not a single customs agent has had their licenses renewed by the commissioner General of KRA, despite applications  having been finalized by end of September last year. However, passwords are still on and running. The delay scared the agents upfront. 

This move effectively paralyses import and export activities at the JKIA; at port of Mombasa; at border towns of Namanga, Busia and Malaba; and inland Container Freight Stations (CFS).

It is general consensus among members of KIFWA that the Kenya Revenue Authority is mismanaging affairs.

KIFWA contends that the Customs & Border Control department, and by extension the Commissioner General of the KRA are deliberately making a hash of affairs in their jurisdiction.

On their part, the Kenya Revenue Authority on Tuesday issued a swift rejoinder to counter these claims.

A press release by the KRA states that the ongoing initiative is aimed at evaluating applicant suitability prior to renewal of licenses. The KRA contends that clearing and forwarding service providers in Kenya are entrusted with a critical role of safeguarding national security and collection of revenue, and so this process must be thorough.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Clearing and Forwarding agents in Kenya’s neighbours such as Tanzania and Uganda have three-year running licenses. Why can’t the same be applied in Kenya?

It seems the move by the Customs department to deny operators their licenses is informed by the notion that too many clearing agents gunning for the same customer base will create loopholes for tax evasion.

Locking out the SME Clearing agents is not a solution. Perhaps a temporary halt on the issuance of new licenses will bring some of the needed order. This can be coupled with putting in place more stringent measures for renewal of existing members licenses.

Many people depend on the existing clearing and forwarding agents. Through the creation of jobs and opportunities, the clearing and forwarding industry in Kenya supports some 200,000 families directly and indirectly. These firms also aid in the collection of tax revenues for the KRA, amounting to an estimated KES 3 billion daily.

The move by KRA has got some operators reallu angry [Photo:]
The move by KRA has got some operators reallu angry [Photo:]

The apparent refusal to calls for dialogue between the agents and the Commission is definitely not good for the economy. Subsequent clogging at the ports will definitely result in loss of revenue, tax and duties.

We already have enough strikes and demonstration in the public service in Kenya (the doctors’ strike and the lecturers’ strikes are not resolved yet). We could certainly do with one less demonstration.  

The planned demonstration by members of the Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association will certainly be averted if the licenses for all agents are renewed as a matter of urgency.

Top clearing agents in Kenya like Sidoman are well on the path of international status given the proper environment coupled with its mission, vision and manpower. The move by revenue authorities to choke small and medium enterprises is quite retrogressive.

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Shipping Goods to Kenya: 7 More Terms You Will Encounter

In a previous article, we had a look at the commonly used shipping terms. In this article, we will continue to explain the meanings of more terms that you are likely to encounter when shipping your goods.

Consignee – This is the person whose details appear in all shipping documents as the party to whom the shipment will be delivered at the port of destination. The consignee is deemed to be the buyer/owner of the goods and is due to declare customs and pay relevant duties and taxes.

Mombasa Port
Containers being offloaded at Mombasa Port. [Image:]

Consignor – The consignor (or consigner) is the person or organization that delivers a shipment to a carrier in order to have it transported to a consignee.

– This is a freight shipping method where several individual consignments at the point of origin are combined into one shipment to make up a full container. Shipping by this method allows the cargo to be delivered as container cargo and in this way the rates are likely to be lower. There is also the increased benefit of added security. At the destination, the goods are deconsolidated and delivered to their intended consignees.

Bulk Cargo – Also known as bulk shipment. This is loose or non-containerized cargo, that is often most conveniently carried in the hold area of the ship, such as wheat grains or cement. Upon arrival at the destination port, it is offloaded through hatchways or other similar means.

CFS – This is an acronym for Container Freight Station. A CFS is a facility at the port (or nearby) where container cargo is loaded off and on to a ship.  A CFS may also be referred to as a Container Terminal. The operations at the CFS are similar in nature to those at the Port terminal, meaning that all bulk or loose cargo undergoes customs clearance for export and import.

Per CBM – This is a unit of measurement of cargo. CBM stands for Cubic Metre. This means that the cargo will be charged per cubic metre. A cubic metre is a measurement of volume – that is, multiplying the length by width by height. Usually, standard cargo container measurements are in feet so a little arithmetic may be needed to convert the volume into cubic metres. A 40-foot container carries about 72 cubic metres but not all of this is usually filled up by cargo.

LCL and FCL – These stand for Less than Container Load and Full Container Load, respectively. LCL is a shipment that does not fully fill a standard container. An FCL is a container that is loaded and intended for only one consignee. In essence, the whole package is meant for one consignee and the container is loaded to capacity. In practice however, despite being termed FCL, shippers do not fully load the container due to logistical reasons.

These are only brief descriptions of some of the terms that you will encounter when shipping goods to Kenya. We shall be exploring these and others in deeper detail in future posts. Keep your tabs on the Sidoman Blog as we continue to delve into matters logistics discussed by the top logistics company in Kenya!


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