The entry of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) into the East African Community (EAC) has made the region more attractive to business, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) acting Managing Director John Mwangemi has said.
Mr Mwangemi said this would boost trade with the Port of Mombasa being a key facilitator of the regional trade. He said the huge potential has been bolstered by the recent admission of DRC to the EAC - now with a combined population of over 200 million people.
The KPA boss said the entry of DRC to the EAC will also boost strategic infrastructural developments that respective governments are implementing to increase integration and make cargo movement seamless and efficient.
He noted that KPA will soon be commissioning several infrastructural projects in the final phase of completion, to enhance efficiency and ease cargo evacuation.
Key among these projects is the new Sh40 billion Kipevu Oil Terminal currently undergoing a trial phase in readiness for operations.
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The latest offshore oil terminal has four berths with the capacity to handle five different oil products including heavy fuel oil, three white oil products (DPK-aviation fuel, AGO-diesel and PMS-petrol) and crude oil.
The Mombasa Port’s phase two of the second container terminal that will increase capacity at the port by 450,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent units) annually is also set for commissioning in the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, the world’s fifth-largest shipping line, Hapag Lloyd Shipping Line is targeting to move at least one million TEUs to increase its market share in Africa to 10 per cent by 2023. The liner moves 350,000 TEUS annually in Africa, with the East African accounting for 150,000 TEUS.
South and East Africa Managing Director Busto Rogelio said East Africa has been identified as a growth area by the shipping line in its expansion strategy, owing to high levels of integration in the region. “We need to grow in Africa. The Port of Mombasa is a key player in the East Africa region where we target to increase our presence,” said Busto.
He was speaking at KPA headquarters when he paid a courtesy call to Mr Mwangemi.