Airwagon Cargo Movers Ltd. – Nairobi, Kenya

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Interview with

Ms. Jane Njuguna

Managing Director


Jane, if you will, please tell us a little about Airwagon.

Airwagon Cargo Movers Ltd. specializes in clearing and forwarding. It was established in 2007 and its registered offices are located at the heart of Kenya’s largest airport (Jomo Kenyatta International Airport). It’s registered with KRA and KIFWA. Airwagon Cargo Movers Ltd. has a truly professional team from diverse backgrounds and a qualified approach combined with many years of experience.

Who are the owners?

Airwagon Cargo Movers is owned by two directors of Kenyan origin, namely Kevin Mutinda and myself. We both have previous background experience in the clearing and forwarding industry.

Can you describe the ports of Kenya and explain which ports are generally available for project cargo and containerized shipping?

The main port is Mombasa and there’s an inland port at ICD Nairobi. The main port currently has nineteen berths comprising of one bulk grain terminal, two oil terminals/jetties, four container berths and twelve general cargo berths. Recent investment in modernizing handling equipment, dredging of the main entrance channel and widening of the turning basin has enabled larger, modern post-panama vessels to call at the port. The port is currently ranked the 117th top-ranked container port in the world and 5th in Africa.

ICD Nairobi

Inland Container Depot Nairobi, owned and operated by the Kenyan Port Authority and linked by rail with Mombasa port, provides shippers with dry port facilities in the commercial heart of the country. It was established in 1984. The spacious yard of twenty-nine hectares, located in the Industrial area off Mombasa Road on ICD Road, can accommodate a throughput of over 180,000 TEUS per annum, making it ideal for shippers of both exports and imports as well as empty containers.

Customs Clearance in Kenya

Imports into Kenya undergo various procedures through Kenyan Customs and the Kenyan Port Authority during the clearance of freights and cargo in Kenya. All these are procedures that freights and cargo undergo and are carried out by Kenyan clearing agents and Kenyan Revenue Authority (KRA) Customs officials.

Is it difficult?

No, it’s not difficult and it’s very fast as long as you comply and provide all the required documentation. However, we experience delays if the Kenyan Revenue Authority system (Tradex) is experiencing downtimes.

Are there any golden rules to observe before shipping anything into Kenya?

Recently, the Kenyan government has introduced a new regulation for quality inspection at the country of origin for goods coming into Kenya. It’s mandatory to have all shipments destined for Kenya inspected and awarded a certificate of conformity (COC), issued prior to arrival. The government approved inspecting bodies include: SGS, Bureau Veritas and Cotecna.

One has to ensure that they have a COC in hand prior to the goods arrival at destination.

Goods arriving before the issuance date of COC will attract a penalty of 20% of CIF.

Below are the documents required:

  • Commercial Invoice
  • Import Declaration Form (IDF)
  • Packing List
  • Certificate of Conformity (COC)
  • Bill of Lading/AWB

Kenya has a strategic location, bordering Somalia, Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania. Is it possible to transship cargo via Kenyan ports to these neighboring countries?

The port is the main gateway to eastern and central Africa, serving a vast hinterland of more than 120 million people in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Eastern DRC, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia and Northern Tanzania.

It is possible to transship cargo via Kenyan ports to these neighboring countries, thanks to the implementation of a single window system which enables international (cross-border) traders to submit regulatory documents at a single location and/or to a single entity. Such documents are typically customs declarations, applications for import/export permits and other supporting documents such as certificates of origin and trading invoices.

Can you comment on the situations for each country bordering Kenya? Also, how is the current situation in Kenya?

The situations in most of the bordering countries are conducive for transshipment, except regarding the Kenyan-Ethiopian border and Kenyan–Somali border which can be volatile and always require a heavily armed military escort.

When did you start your career in shipping, Jane?

My shipping career started back in 2002, when I was employed as an administrative assistant in the shipping company. During my employment I learnt to do shipping documentation and clearance procedures. Later on, I enrolled at the Kenya School of Revenue Administration (KESRA) which is the Kenya Revenue Authority’s premier training school specializing in Tax and Customs Administration, Fiscal Policy and management. The school is one of the only four World Customs Organization (WCO) accredited regional training centers (RTCs) in Africa.

Do you belong to any networks currently and if so why?

Yes, we belong to three international networks, namely; CLC Projects, WBLN and WWPC.

The networks play an important role in international trade as they help us move shipments across countries, continents and oceans.

They also allow us to work together with other freight forwarders to save money, mitigate risks and maneuver shipments more deftly.

Could you provide us with some pictures of project cargoes that you have handled or that you are proud of having organized recently?

Two weeks ago, we moved a door to door shipment from Germany via Amsterdam airport to JKIA, Nairobi, Kenya by air, which was twelve tons for the United Nations Environmental Assembly Project (UNEA). The commodity was tents of synthetic fibers and steel structures to set up a tent structure which can hold up to 3000 persons. This was for the UNEA -4 Conference and One Planet Summit that are currently ongoing at the United Nations headquarters in Nairobi. This is the highest-level decision-making body on environmental matters and is attended by high level United Nations government delegations, faith-based organizations, corporate/business and NGO youth forums.

Kenya has a beautiful visage. What places would you recommend the would-be visitor visit when travelling to Kenya. Perhaps some places that are not already overrun by tourists?

  • Samburu Buffalo Springs & Shaba National Reserves
  • Maasai Mara Game Reserve
  • Mt. Kenya Safari Lodge & National Park
  • Amboseli National Reserve
  • Tsavo National Park
  • Lake Naivasha Geothermal Spa
  • Ol Pejeta Conservancy
  • Nairobi National Park
  • Nairobi National Museum
  • Lamu Island
  • Kazuri Bead Factory & Pottery Centre

How to get in touch with you?

Below are the contact details for the directors of Airwagon Cargo Movers Ltd.

Jane Njuguna | Managing Director
Air Wagon Cargo Movers Ltd
P.O. Box 23187-00100 Nairobi, Kenya
Mobile: (254) 722 167 738/780 167738
Tel: (254) 719 606 104/ 705 331 311

Kevin Mutinda | Director
Air Wagon Cargo Movers Ltd
P.O. Box 23187-00100 Nairobi, Kenya
Mobile: (254) 722979255
Tel: (254) 719 606 104/ 705 331 311