NAIROBI: Japan has confirmed it has completed the first phase of the Mombasa Port Development Project (MPDP).
The Sh22 billion project was started back in March 2012, with the aim of decongesting the Mombasa Port by creating three more berths (berth 20, 21 and another small berth). It was scheduled to be completed by today, February 29.
Deputy Project Manager Masati Kaneko said phase one of the expansion project was ready to be handed over to the Government.
“We are within the schedule as planned on completion of phase one of the project. There might be some little work to be touched up, but overall, the new terminal is ready for handover,” he said over the weekend when a Japanese delegation toured the new Kipevu terminal.
The second and third phases of the MPDP are scheduled for completion in 2017 and 2020, respectively.
“This terminal has the capacity to handle 550,000 containers, which is expected to increase the capacity of the Mombasa port by over 50 per cent. On completion of the whole project, the port will become the largest in the region,” said Mr Kaneko.
Currently, Mombasa handles an average of one million containers a year, but it has a projected target of 1.32 million with the new terminal.
Access roads, trunk roads and connection roads are fully operational, which is expected to ease cargo traffic and reduce turnaround times.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to officially open the new terminal at a date yet to be confirmed.
Kaneko said package one of the first phase was carried out by Toyo Construction Company, which would also make any necessary touch ups. Package one was basically construction, and it took 48 months from March 2012.
“However, package two, which is procurement of equipment by Toyota Tsusho Corporation, is 100 per cent complete.”
Package two took 20 months from December 2015. Toyota has procured two ship-to-shore cranes, and four other cranes that will operate on shore.
The container terminal yard at the port sits on 35 hectares and is 15 metres deep. It is able to dock an 800-tonne ship up to 50 metres high.
Over 20 million tonnes of sand and 4,000 tonnes of stones from the deep sea were excavated to create dry land and a deeper harbour. The total reclaimed volume was 3.7 million cubic metres.
This was the major challenge, which took close to a year, Kaneko said. Prefabricated Vertical Drain (PVD) technology was used to hasten the process before soil improvements were done to make the yard more durable.
Also, to cater for the environmental impact, more than 1,500 mangrove trees were planted in Mikindani to replace those cut during construction.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) has signed an agreement of Sh24 billion for the construction of phase two with the Kenya Ports Authority.