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Transit Goods

Transit goods are goods imported through the region to a country outside the region.  

Q: What value is applicable for transit goods?
It is the transaction value adjusted according to Article VIII of the WTO valuation regulations.


Q: Are transit goods subject to import duty?

No they are not. However if the consignment fails to exit the region within the prescribed period and no official extension is granted, duty becomes due. The importer may request the Commissioner to allow consumption of the goods in the local market. If this is authorized, then duty becomes payable.


Q: What is the nature of goods that can be transited?
All types of goods can be transited with the exception of prohibited goods.


Q: Can transit goods be converted for home consumption?
Yes, the owner can apply in writing to the Commissioner to allow entry of the goods and refund on any deposit will be given or the bond on such goods will be cancelled


Q: Is there a specific transit period?
Yes, the transit period is less than thirty days from the date of entry or any further period as the Commissioner may allow. During this period, bulk cargo may be stored in a Transit go-down. This is a facility licensed by the Commissioner for the storage of transit cargo.


Q: How does the Customs administration secure the duty due on transit cargo?

Duties due are secured through the execution of a security bond.


Q: Is there a standard security bond amount?
Yes, security bond is set at an amount equal to the duty payable on the goods.


Q: What is the fate of securities, bonds and other deposits made on transit goods?
Refunds or bond cancellation are granted after exportation. The owner must submit an application (Form C30) for refund of deposit or cancellation of the bond accompanied by necessary documents including the export certificate Form C17.

If the application for a refund is not made within 30 days, goods will be viewed to have been imported for home consumption and import duty will be charged on them.

If the owner fails to submit exportation proof of part of the transit goods due to circumstances beyond his/her control, the Commissioner shall only refund the deposit or cancel the bond to goods that have proof of exportation.


Q: What are the procedures and requirements for application as a carrier?
Goods in transit shall only be carried through the Community in sealed, licensed vehicles except in the case of exceptional loads

Trailers and motive units intended for the conveyance of transit cargo must be licensed by the Commissioner using Form C38. For motive units and trailers licensed in any of the COMESA Member States or SADC a certificate of approval in Form C39 should be issued by the Commissioner on application.

On approval the carrier should execute a bond using Form CB12.

Where a carrier owns more than one vehicle, only one bond shall be required

A carrier who is a licensed customs agent shall not be required to execute a bond.

License fees of  payable by carriers of transit goods is currently being harmonized

The vehicles mentioned above should bear the words “TRANSIT GOODS” printed boldly and clearly on both sides as specified in Form C38

The vehicles used for conveyance of transit cargo should be constructed and equipped in such   manner that:-

a customs seal can be fixed easily on doors and all other closing systems

goods cannot be removed from or introduced into the sealed part of the vehicle without breaking the customs seal

the vehicle does not contain concealed spaces

spaces capable of holding goods are readily accessible for Customs inspection

additional compartments inside the vehicle should be firmly fixed, sealed, unbroken and capable of being dismantled without leaving obvious traces,

openings for lubrication, maintenance and filling of the sand box are fitted with a cover and should be inaccessible to the loading compartment from the outside;

hinges are made and fitted such that doors and other closing systems cannot be lifted off the hinge-pins

doors cover all interstice and ensure complete and effective closure; and

The Customs seal is protected once it is affixed.


Q: Who is authorized to clear transit goods through Customs?
A licensed Customs agent who is further licensed by the Commissioner to clear transit goods.


Q: Is there a special route that transit goods must go through?
Yes, goods in transit shall be conveyed by road on routes approved by the Commissioner. A person who does not follow the specified transit route commits an offence whose fine is 5% of the value of the goods and the goods which are the subject of the offence shall be detained.


Q: Is it an offence not to export transit goods?
Yes it is an offence not to export transit cargo, however one can apply to the Commissioner for authority to convert the consignment for home use.


Q: What penalties are payable by the owner to the proper officer for offences related to goods on transits?
Where the quantity of goods presented at the port or place of exportation is less than that written on the entry, the owner should pay the duty on the extra goods, unless they are accounted to the proper officer.

If the transit period expires before any part of the goods is exported, the owner should pay the penalty to bond.

If in addition to the expiry of the transit period there are extra quantities of goods undeclared in the declaration form, a penalty to bond will be paid and in addition, duty for the extra cargo will also be paid.

If goods are not exported after the payment of any penalties, the goods shall be subject to forfeiture.


Q: What laws apply to goods in transit?
Goods in transit are subject to laws that relate to importation, prohibition, entry, examination, landing and exportation of goods as stipulated in the EAC Customs Management Act.


Q: Can a commissioner detain goods on transit?
Yes, the commissioner can prohibit, restrict or control the entry of certain goods or type of transport used to convey the goods if they pose a safety, health, hygiene risk or pose harm to animal, plant or if they are against the public interest.