Reg Plates Number Plate Shortage Delays New Car Registration
A shortage of vehicle number plates has hit the Kenyan market, causing a backlog in the clearance of cars at the Mombasa port.
More than 6,000 imported second-hand vehicles are lying at container freight stations (CFS) in Mombasa, and owners are being charged Sh3,000 daily for delayed clearance.
The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) attributed the shortage of the plates on reduced supply amid an increase in demand for car registration.
“There is a small shortage because of less supplies from Kamiti Maximum Prison.
This should not be a cause for alarm as we expect the situation to normalise soon,” said NTSA director-general Francis Meja.
The law mandates the prisons department to make the plates. It is mandatory for imported second hand vehicles to be fitted with number plates before leaving the port.
The rule does not affect new vehicles imported by franchise holders who offload and bond the units in customs warehouses awaiting sale.
The rule is meant to check tax evasion by unscrupulous traders through dumping in the local market cars meant for landlocked Uganda and Rwanda.
Dealers said that the shortage had hit them hard as they were forced to incur storage charges at the port amid cash flow hiccups due to delays as some had taken loans.
The storage charges are based on the volume of vehicles and the number of days they take at Mombasa port or at container freight stations.
“CFSs charge an average of Sh3,000 per vehicle per day, an expense the importer should not incur because they have paid import duty and port charges. This means that car owners are being overburdened by NTSA’s inefficiency,” Car Importers Association of Kenya (CIAK) chairman Peter Otieno said yesterday.
He said the authority had delivered 500 plates on Wednesday.
“We did registration for the (KC)D series in December before Christmas and so far registration has been done up to the (KC)K series. Given that each series has 999 vehicles, this means 6,493 units don’t have the plates,” Mr Otieno said.
The NTSA said making manual number plates, which are prone to duplication, was slow and that the proposed new-generation, high-tech plates will offer a long-term solution to the supply hitch.
Tendering hiccups have affected the introduction of the new plates.
Kenya experienced a similar shortage of number plates in 2013 which saw about 2,500 imported vehicles stuck at the port for about a month.
The country imports about 6,000 used cars monthly, according to dealers.
How close a series of letters or numbers are to a real name of word: if the match quality is high (and the numbers and letters are very convincing in making a popular word), the value of the registration plate will be higher. This means that a match like 5IMON, for the name Simon, will be worth a lot more than a more obscure set of letters and numbers that are not as convincing a match, such as S17 MMM for the name Sam.
The style of the plate: this means establishing if it is a new-style plate, an older-style format or if it is dateless or Irish, for instance. Other options are that it is a prefix-style plate or a suffix-style plate. New-style number plates, which have been produced since 2001, tend to be the least valuable because they are a bit less appealing to some collectors, plus the rule about not having plates that are newer than your car can also come into play, putting people off from buying a newer-style plate for their older car. Prefix-style number plates, which were in production between 1983 and 2001 can be more popular as more vehicles are entitled to have those licence numbers, and they may have fewer characters in total. Suffix-style plates, issued from 1963 to 1983 are relatively rare, which means they can attract higher prices than prefix-style plates and newer designs. Dateless number plates, also known as cherished number plates, were produced between 1903 and 1963 and are nearly always the most valuable number plate configurations; they have fewer digits and their dateless nature means that people can hide the age of their car. Irish number plates are similar to dateless number plates, especially because they don’t have a year identifier. They also tend to be cheaper than other types of vehicle registration plates.
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