The Mombasa port registered an 11.9 per cent growth in the cargo it handled in the first six months of this year, according to new Kenya Ports Authority data.
The port management in a report released on Tuesday credited the growth to recent expansion activities, including the construction of a second container terminal last year.
The terminal was put up at a cost of $300 million (Sh30.9 billion) and is 900 metres long with three docking berths.
It provides an additional cargo-handling capacity of 550,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) annually.
According to the report, the port handled 15 million tonnes of cargo between January and June compared with 13.4 million tonnes in the same period last year.
“During the first six months of 2017, imports accounted for 12.7 million tonnes against 11.3 million handled in the same 2016 period, an increase of 12 per cent. The port again handled 1.87 million tonnes in exports, up 0.5 per cent on the 1.86 million tonnes handled in the same period last year,” said KPA.
Despite election uncertainties that have previously seen countries in the hinterland take a more cautious approach while importing through the Mombasa port, KPA said none of them scaled down their operations in the run-up to the August 8 polls.
The countries that import their cargo through the port of Mombasa include Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, and eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In the first week alone after the Supreme Court made its historic ruling, KPA said Uganda, which consistently maintained her leading position in the transit market segment, accounted for 4,218 TEUs of cargo.
It was followed by South Sudan with 698 TEUs, Rwanda (372 TEUs), DRC (302 TEUs), Somalia (42 TEUs), and Burundi (13 TEUs).
“Port operations are still running smoothly. We are posting daily improved figures in terms of tonnes of cargo handled and we don’t foresee any problems even with the repeat of the elections,” Hajj Masemo, a spokesman for the port, told global news outlet Reuters. Maize remained the leading import commodity, recording 46,571 tonnes followed by bulk wheat that registered 41,392 tonnes.
Other commodities handled in large quantities included 28,448 tonnes of bulk sugar, 20,740 tonnes of bulk clinker, bulk fertiliser (17,471 tonnes), steel (10,513 tonnes), bagged cement (560 tonnes), and mobile harbour cranes (589 tonnes).
The terminal also handled 1,464 units of motor vehicles and 96 trucks that rolled off the motorcar carriers.
In the weeks leading to the elections, the Kenya Manufacturers Association had expressed fears of low cargo handling activity at the port, saying most of its members were scaling down their operations at the port.