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Nairobi, December 12, 2005(HAN) – The Djibouti Port Administration recently reduced the grace period that allows importers to store their goods at the port for 30 days free of charge to 15 days.

The new directive was introduced by Dubai Port International, the international company that administrates the Djibouti Port. And, according to the directive, importers are now required to haul their goods within 15 days. Otherwise, they would be forced to effect payment for the warehouse service they get after the deadline.

An official with the Ethiopian Maritime and Transit Service Enterprise told The Reporter that the grace period, which was 45 days was reduced to 30 days some years back and recently it was slashed by half. The official said that it was difficult to finalize the paperwork (shipment document processing) within 15 days. "Finding adequate trucks that transport the imported goods by itself takes several days," the official said.

Customs clearing agents and importers are expressing their disappointments with the new directive. They asked officials of the Ethiopian Ministry of Trade and Industry to consider the case and to deal with the Djiboutian authorities.

However, a senior official with the Ministry of Trade and Industry told The Reporter that the Ministry did not have complaints on the new directive. The senior official said importers should be able to clear their goods within 15 days. "A port is not a warehouse. Imported goods should be cleared as soon as possible. When we keep the goods there for a long time they could sustain damage. Why should we waste the nation's resource," he added. Representative of the Djibouti Port was not available for comment. By Kaleyesus Bekele.  


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