The office was officially opened on July 19, 2013, to bring port services closer to Rwanda-based clients without having to travel to Mombasa to follow up on their cargo or queries.
This, according to the authority, helped clients reduce the cost and time of doing business and also access customer support at the office.
The Kigali Liaison office was established to bring port services closer to the Rwanda clients without having to travel to Mombasa to follow up on their cargo or queries. This helped clients reduce the cost and time of doing business and also access customer support at the Liaison office. The Liaison office implements a Marketing Strategy based on three pillars, namely Customer Engagement, Business Development, and Stakeholder Management.
The presence of Kigali office for the last 10 years has supported the growth of Rwanda market and enabled the utilization of Single Customs Territory (SCT) regime of cargo clearance to have an end-to-end process by Rwanda Clients from 2014.
Partnerships with Key stakeholders like the Ministry of Infrastructure (MININFRA), Ministry of Trade and industry (MINICOM), Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA), Private Sector Federation (PSF), Rwanda Freight Forwarders Association (RWAFFA), and Business Management Organizations among others have also been forged to improve trade facilitation.
Other key achievements include empowering clients to use cargo tracking software, KWATOS, and SAP Biller Direct portal for cargo clearance and payment of port charges. KPA also engaged in Corporate Social Initiative such as participation in Umuganda events (monthly community clean-up exercise) and issuing community-based health insurance to vulnerable members in the society among others.
Speaking at the celebration held at Marriott Hotel Kigali on Friday 21st July 2023, the Chairman of Kenya Port Authority (KPA), Benjamin Tayari disclosed that the authority is implementing plans to upgrade ports cargo handling facilities, support the development of special economic zones, and ensure the development of hinterland infrastructures to ease cargo offtake from the port as well as eradicate non-tariff barriers along the northern corridor.
“As we celebrate ten years since we opened the Kigali office, let us take count of the milestones we have achieved and the essence of the symbiotic relationship that has enabled us to come this far. While we may have experienced some challenges along the way, we have even better reasons to work harder, going forward to grow our region,” he stated.
The Managing Director of KPA, Capt William Ruto, commended the Government of Rwanda for unwavering support and cooperation over the past decade.
“It is through visionary leadership and commitment to fostering regional integration that we have been able to forge this fruitful partnership. The establishment of our office in Kigali has been a testament to the strong bonds of friendship and cooperation between our nations,” he noted.
Ruto underscored that the presence of KPA in Rwanda over the past ten years has not only served as a gateway for goods coming into and leaving Rwanda but has also acted as a catalyst for the development of a robust logistics network in the region.
“Prior to the establishment of this office, we had continued to witness a growth of imports to Rwanda through the Ports of Mombasa, which increased to 247,730 tons in 2012 from 216,306 during the period. Exports also increased from 9,787 tons to 12,508 tons during the period,” he revealed.
As Ruto explained, the KPA office in Kigali helps to execute documentation and cargo tracking for consignments that are at the Port of Mombasa.
Equally, clients can directly pay to the Kenya Ports Authority either through cash bank deposits or online payments from the comfort of their offices.
According to Ruto, the office has so far contributed to the reduction of time taken on responses to queries such as the status of cargo and verification of port charges.
“In 2022, our transit traffic posted a significant growth of 7.3 percent to record 10.23 million tons against 9.54 million tons recorded in 2021. It is impressive to note that among the transit markets, Rwanda recorded the highest growth of 132.7 percent or 245,104 tons after registering 429,857 tons in 2022 against 184,753 tons in 2021. The figures are a testament to the importance of this office on our overall business,” he stated.
Abiel Abimana, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure, graced the occasion as the guest of honor and emphasized the significance of KPA’s 10th anniversary, particularly highlighting the importance of the Kigali liaison office. He expressed appreciation for the authority’s efforts in bringing services closer to Rwanda, leading to reduced transport costs and improved trade.
Abimana praised KPA for its dedication to supporting the implementation of a single customs territory, which has resulted in notable improvements in customs clearance processes.
He emphasized the crucial role that transport infrastructure and services play as key drivers of economic growth while acknowledging the challenges faced in the region, especially concerning logistics and transport.
The Permanent Secretary advocated for a more frequent forum that brings together concerned stakeholders to address barriers and challenges encountered by the business community.
Fred Seka, the CEO of Gorilla Logistics and Chairperson of the Federation of East African Freight Forwarders Association (FEAFFA), acknowledged the shared journey of growth in Rwanda’s economy with KPA. He recalled the challenges they encountered in the past, particularly concerning the use of the Port of Mombasa, and expressed gratitude for the joint efforts of Rwandan and Kenyan governments in overcoming these obstacles.
Seka highlighted the positive impact of integrating the East African Community and establishing KPA’s office in Rwanda, facilitating smoother business operations, including efficient handling of shipments and bills at the Port of Mombasa.
He applauded the accomplishments achieved over the past decade, such as reduced transit times, streamlined customs processes, and the expanded reach of the border to the Port of Mombasa. Seka praised the dedication of Captain William, the Managing Director of KPA, and the Kenyan government in their commitment to enhancing infrastructure.
He extended his gratitude to the Rwandan business community for their unwavering support and cooperation with the KPA office in Rwanda. Seka also called for efficient customer service and prompt resolution of issues, further strengthening business relations.