Region to adopt its own UCR format

  calendarWednesday, 25 January 2017 05:47:06

The East African region is expected to adopt its own format for issuing Unique Consignment Reference (UCR). This was said at a technical committee meeting held for customs, trade facilitation, transport and planning, in Nairobi from 16- 20th May 2016.

A UCR is a reference number for customs use which binds information about a trade transaction, from initial order and consignment of goods by a supplier,  to the movement of those goods and arrival at the border, and through to their final delivery to the importer.


The proposed UCR will be generated both at the national and regional levels and will be based on the 2011 World Customs Organization (WCO) recommendation format. It will have a maximum length of 35 alpha –numeric characters without any special characters such as space. The first two characters are reserved for the last two digits of the calendar year in which export takes place. The next 2 characters will be reserved for UNLCOD/SWIFT code of the country from where the exports originated, for example KE-Kenya, UG-Uganda, RW-Rwanda etc. The next 10 characters identify the trader as they are known by the revenue authority. The last 21 characters are either a sequential number or other unique number such as the invoice number, consignment number, order number et ce tera.

The UCR concept will be driven by the national revenue/customs authorities.

A declarant will apply for the UCR through a web interface supplied by the revenue /customs authority as an add-on to the existing customs management system or through a linked module.

The meeting, convened by the Northern Corridor Transit and Transport Coordination Authority (NCTCCA), also discussed among other issues, the delays in approval of manifest for containerized vessels at Mombasa Port and in mapping of manifests from KRA to URA systems, bunching of trucks at Mariakani weighbridge as a result of most truck setting off late for their transit journey from Mombasa, and lack of parking yards, verification, storage facilities and quarantine posts at border stations. Various recommendations were suggested to deal with these challenges.