Over 7,000 unclaimed containers stored at Modjo Dry Port have taken up too much space, Addis Ayele, general manager of the port, told The Reporter today.
Even though the transportation of goods is transformed from a uni-modal to multi-modal system, still the dry port suffers from congestion as importers routinely fail to submit their commercial documents and declare their duties in time.
Last week, the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority (ERCA) warned importers that they should settle their customs duties on time before resorting to legal alternatives.
Addis blamed importers for failing to follow due procedures before importing goods. “They just tend to import because they just have a license to do so. Yet they shy away to settle their dues after the goods have already arrived at the dry port terminals,” he added.
With the implementation of multi-modal system, importers are required to declare duties and finalize customs clearance once goods have arrived at dry ports. However, they also bring their own complaints in connection with customs duties as well as supporting documents from the Ethiopian Maritime Services and Logistics Enterprise.
Importers complain that it takes too long to secure commercial documentation from banks that would enable them to declare their duties to the authority.
They also cry foul for the absence of transparent systems and clear information from the enterprise with regard to evidence of imported goods.
Last week, officials of the dry port and ERCA discussed measures that would be taken regarding the 7,000 abandoned containers, most of which belong to private importers. But they refrained from saying the action that would be taken— confiscation or other legal action.
However, ERCA keeps urging importers to move their containers as soon as possible.
According to available documents, the government used to incur at least USD 700 million annually before dry ports were built inland.
By Yonas Abiye