The Kenya Port Authority (KPA) took some days off this month to tip journalists from East and Central African countries whose traders frequently use Mombasa Port – Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya and the DR Congo – on its activities.
The media workshop, the fourth of its kind, took place at the Sarova Whitesands Beach Resort and Spa in Mombasa from 20th November. While welcoming the participants, the KPA Managing Director Catherine Mturi-Wairi said the workshop was a boost to KPA’s efforts to improve media awareness and understanding of global and regional transport dynamics.
“Many of you will appreciate that doing a comprehensive maritime and logistics story is never a walk in the park. One needs to get a deeper understanding of different players’ roles in the logistic chain to write a good story. And that is why we believe that for all of us to uphold professionalism in our respective fields, there must be a deliberate and continuous productive exchange,” she noted.
Mturi-Wairi further observed that there is need for continuous engagement and discourse to deepen understanding of the maritime transport and the whole logistics chain.
Mturi-Wairi explained that since the last media workshop in 2015, a number of issues concerning performance and infrastructure development had been resolved. At the time, the port had, for the first time in its history, handled a total throughput of 24.9 million tons and over 1 million twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs).
“This performance reinforced Mombasa Port’s position in the league of global players. It is also a clear indication of market confidence in the prevailing business environment underscored by improved regional integration,” she said.
With regards to infrastructure development, the following progress was discussed: acquisition of more modern equipment, construction of phase 1 of the second container terminal which was then 95% complete, continued port automation which focused on the effective interface with the national single window system and single customs territory, the integrated security system which had just been implemented and had positioned the Port of Mombasa as one of the most secure maritime facilities on the continent, reduction of non-tariff barriers along the northern corridor and construction of the standard-gauge railway (SGR) which had been launched in November 2013.
“After touring the port and sample for yourself the progress we have made since 2015, you will find that the second container terminal is now operational, construction of phase 1 of the SGR is complete, as is linking the port and the Nairobi inland container depot. In addition you will see new access roads to the new container terminal aimed at easing traffic and cargo off-take,” Mturi-Wairi explained.
Performance overview since 2012
Over the last five years, cargo throughput has registered a steady annual growth of 5.7% from 21.92 million tons in 2012 to 27.36 million tons in 2016. Similarly, container traffic has registered an impressive growth of 4.8% rising from 903,463 TEUs in 2012 to 1,091,371 TEUs, according to KPA.
Over the same period, transit traffic grew by 4.0% to record 7.75 million tons in 2016 up from 6.63 million tons in 2012. This growth was significantly supported by especially Uganda-bound cargo which grew by 7.1% over the same period.
“In 2015 the port handled 1million TEUs for the first time in its history. We have continued to sustain the tempo despite the prevailing difficult global economic trends,” Mturi-Wairi explained.
In 2016, KPA handled a total of 27.36 million tons of cargo up from 26.73 million tons handled in 2015, an increase of 2.4%. Container traffic alone recorded an increase of 15,253 TEUs from 1.076 million TEUs handled in 2015 to 1.091 million TEUs in 2016, giving a growth of 1.4%. In the category of transit traffic, the port handled 7.748 million tons last year up from 7,667 million tons handled in 2015, representing an increase of 1.06%.
Of the total traffic, Uganda commanded 81.9% share followed by South Sudan (7.7%), the DR Congo (4.9%), Rwanda (2.5%), Tanzania(2.4%), Burundi(0.5%), Somalia (0.1%) and others at 0.1%.
“The mild growth is however set to change this year as signs depict a huge growth in this sector,” she said.
“This year we have witnessed signs of a good performance in the last nine months from January to September, despite the prolonged election period,” Mturi-Wairi said.
The port handled a total of 22,756,448 tons of cargo compared with 20,566,156 tons registered in the corresponding period in 2016, reflecting an increase of 2,190,293 tons or 10.6%.
Port Development Projects
To remain responsive to shipping and trade trends, KPA continued to implement elaborate port modernization programmes to position Mombasa as a world class port of choice.
Towards this end, KPA has expanded yards and berths to handle more cargo, revamped the ICT system for faster document processing, modernized cargo handling equipment, installed a state of the art integrated security system to control pilferage, dredged the port channel and widened its turning basin. Consequently, the Port can now attract and accommodate larger vessels.
“All in all, in every task we undertake we focus on raising and sustaining our performance to world class standards so that the Port waits for ships and not vice-versa, ship turnaround time is less than 48hrs, dwell time is less than 72hrs and transit time is at its bare minimum,” the KPA Managing Director concluded.
Read this article and more in issue n° 81 of Hope Magazine.