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Note: It is important that you initially enquire with your respective freight forwarder on what items are prohibited/restricted on their carriers (both air & sea) to each country destination. There may also be additional documentation, duties and specific licenses required for certain goods. For items, less than 10kg it may be best to use a reliable parcel delivery service rather than a freight forwarder.

Situated on the equator on Africa’s east coast. The economy of Kenya is the largest by GDP in East and Central Africa. It is also the hub for financial services in the regions. The UK is one of the largest foreign investors in Kenya with bilateral trade totalling over £1.3 billion.

How long does it take for goods to arrive?
For most countries in Africa, transportation by sea freight usually takes between 3-6 weeks depending on the type of service provided (e.g. door-to-door or door-to-port) and the distance between the origin and destination of goods. The major sea port in Kenya is located on the south-east coast of the country approx. 500km from the capital Nairobi. The port of Mombasa is the only International sea port in Kenya and the biggest in east Africa with an annual cargo tonnage of 22 million.
Air freight takes between 2-10 days, like explained above with sea this hinges on whether an express or economy service is selected and the type of delivery (door-to-door, door-to-airport etc).

How much would it cost to send goods?
This largely depends firstly on the type of transport mode chosen for shipment. As Air freight is much faster than sea. This is reflected in prices. Type of service and destination also play a significant factor in price charged. A door to port service will have a lower collection rate than a door to door however you will have to get an agent in Kenya to arrange custom clearance and delivery to your final destination. Destinations closer to either Air or sea ports will attract lower charge per kg, as it takes less mileage to get goods to final point.

What can you send?

Prohibited goods include counterfeit money, narcotics, hazardous waste and distilled beverages containing essential oils or chemical products which are injurious to health. In addition to prohibited goods, Kenya’s list of restricted items encompasses worked ivory and articles of ivory, bone, tortoise shell, horn, antlers, mother of pearl and other animal carving materials to protect its wildlife conservation. Full list of prohibited and restricted goods are available on the Kenya Revenue Authority website.

What documents do I need?

Firstly, parcels should be labelled (ideally each within the consignment) clearly. Addressing parcels to  Kenya is relatively straightforward. Documents required for shipment usually include:

  • A customs invoice/ packing list form
  • Air Waybill (Air Freight)

You can find further information on exporting and doing business in Kenya on the UK Department of International Trade: Kenya Guide