Kenya is the largest importer of Japanese secondhand vehicles in East Africa. Most of her trade via the sea happens through the port of Mombasa, a very busy port that serves not only mainland Kenya, but also landlocked countries like South Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Uganda.
Cars make up a big number of the products imported through the port and most of them are used Japanese cars. With a fast growing middle class in Kenya, the demand for cars keeps rising. Business at the port is very fast. Clearing agents are readily available and if you would like to avoid the hassle of clearing the car from the port by yourself, you can enlist their services for a fee. However, seeing as some online sites like BE FORWARD have made importing Japanese used cars so easy, there is no reason why you should not clear with Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and the port yourself. We think it would be more suitable if you let a clearing agent do that job for you. On the KRA website, you will find the list of the clearing agents.
The port of Mombasa
Thanks to its strategic location, the Port of Mombasa has been used for trade for many years. Since the times of famous explorers like Vasco Da Gama, Mombasa and the surrounding port towns like Lamu have remained very important to trade by the sea. Today, most of the vehicles entering the East African region pass through the port of Mombasa, earning Kenya a handsome revenue in return.
This port connects many countries from East to the West. This makes the port accessible to many importers of Japanese used cars. Port of Mombasa is connected to more than 80 ports all over the world, via many maritime routes. This, together with access to the neighboring countries of Uganda, Burundi, Tanzania, Sudan, Somalia, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by road makes it one of the busiest ports in Africa.
Applicable costs when importing used cars through the Port of Mombasa
If you intend to buy a car online, this is most likely where the car will come, unless you want it to come by air. Therefore, it is good to know a few important things. First, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBs) KS1515:2000 is responsible for ensuring quality for all consumer and industrial products entering Kenya. They have set the maximum age of a Japanese used car as 8 years. In fact, the requisite age of any used car is 8 years. Therefore, if you are importing one in 2014, the year of make should be 2006, or any other after that.
Once you have already ordered your car and it is at the port of Mombasa. You will have to pay an import declaration fee (IDF) of 2.25% (of the total value of the car), or 5000 Kenya shillings (about $60), whichever is higher.
Let us calculate the total cost of importing a used car to Kenya, via the Port of Mombasa. First, the Import duty, IDF, excise duty and others will be calculated from the CIF. Simply, CIF means the cost of the car in Japan, combined with the freight and insurance charges, up to the port.
Therefore, this is your math:
IDF – 2.25% (of the CIF)
Import Duty – 25% of the CIF
VAT – 16% of CIF +import duty + excise duty)
Are there any other charges?
Of course there are, but not so hefty. You need not worry too much about them. You will pay port charges, which will depend on the vehicle imported. For example, a heavier car will attract more charge than say, a sedan. Lastly, if you would like your car ferried by road upcountry, you will have to pay the delivery charges.
And that is just about it for importing Japanese used cars via the port of Mombasa. With a system going electronic, soon, clearing a car from the port will be easy and fast.