Mombasa Port remains resilient despite Covid-19 effects

Containers at Mombasa Port. [File, Standard]

Effects of Covid-19 pandemic on Mombasa Port cargo in 2020 led to a marginal decline of 0.9 per cent while container traffic reduced by four per cent.

However, acting Kenya Ports Authority Managing director John Mwangemi said notable resilience has been observed this year.

During the January-September 2021 period, the Port handled some 26.17 million tonnes compared to 25.05 million tonnes in the corresponding period in 2020, noted Mwangemi.

"This is an increase of 1.12 million tonnes translating to a growth of 4.4 per cent. In the same period, the port witnessed increased volumes in container traffic registering 1.1 million TEUs against one million TEUs recorded in a similar period in 2020, translating to an increase of 9.3 per cent," he added.

He made the remarks during the annual KPA Corporate Golf Tournament played over the weekend at the Mombasa Golf Club, where he was represented by KPA General Manager Corporate Services, Edward Kamau.

On ongoing key infrastructural projects being carried out by KPA, Mwangemi said the construction of the second container terminal (CT2) Phase II is on course. 

"Phase I has been operational since 2016. Phase II is ongoing and shall be ready by mid-2022. Once ready, the container capacity of the Port of Mombasa shall grow from 1.65 million TEUs to 2.2 million TEUs," he said.

In regards to supporting the energy sector, the MD pointed out that KPA has progressed significantly in the construction of a bigger and modern oil terminal.

He explained that the new Kipevu Oil Terminal will have facilities for offloading crude oil, refined petroleum and liquified petroleum gas (LPG) and is due for completion by end of the year.

"Once complete, KPA will have a terminal consisting of four berths capable of berthing four vessels of up to 200,000 deadweights tonnes (DWT) at ago, to benefit from economies of scale and reduction of demurrage.

On the new Port of Lamu whose first berth came into operation on May 20, 2021, Mwangemi said they have progressed well with its construction with the first three berths and yard complete.

"The Port of Lamu has so far received nine vessels. Plans are underway to procure additional equipment to ensure efficient delivery of services," he said.

Efficient cargo evacuation from the Port has remained paramount in improving terminal fluidity and trucks turnaround time.

"For this reason and with the support from one of our key development partners, Trademark East Africa, KPA completed the construction of a two-way dual carriage Kipevu road from Changamwe roundabout to Port's Gate 18. This road will improve the flow of traffic into and out of the port," he said.

Turning to the developments and rehabilitation of the Port of Kisumu, Mwangemi said that since KPA took over the mandate to manage it, there has been an increase in business between Kenya and its neighbours via Lake Victoria.     

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