Kenya’s main Mombasa port traffic up 9 pct in Q1, expansion continues

By: | at 11:43 AM | Ports & Terminals  

Kenya’s main port of Mombasa handled 9 percent more cargo in the first quarter of this year helped by an expansion programme that had improved efficiency, the port’s management said on Thursday.

The Indian Ocean port of Mombasa, the biggest in east Africa and the region’s trade gateway, handles fuel and consumer goods imports as well as exports of tea and coffee for landlocked neighbours such as Uganda and South Sudan.

Shipments at the port were subdued in the year-ago period due to concern over election violence which put off importers, but the March 4 polls were peaceful.

“The election fever in the early part of last year affected our business volumes, especially in the containerized cargo, but we are determined to even out the difference before this year ends,” Danson Mungatana, the port chairman, told journalists.

He said the port handled 5.56 million tonnes in cargo between January and March this year compared with 5.10 million tonnes in the same period in 2013.

Last year container traffic through the port dropped to 894,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) compared with 903,000 TEUs handled in 2012, as east African businesses sought alternative routes for their goods because of concerns about the election.

Kenya is building a $300 million second container terminal at Mombasa to handle increased trade within the region, driven by a boom in the construction industry, vast infrastructure development and an emerging middle class.

Mungatana said the project was 60 percent complete.

By 2016, the new terminal is projected to have a capacity of 450,000 TEUs and rise to 1.2 million TEUs by 2019.

Mungatana said the port was seeking to attract more global shippers, to benefit from the recently completed expansion programmes at the port especially dredging.

“We are working closely with some of the major shipping lines to explore possibilities of deploying larger vessels to this region through the Port of Mombasa,” he said.


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