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Mombasa port performance improves as cargo volumes up 10.7pc in first quarter

By Willis Oketch | April 11th 2021

Some of the imported containers at Mombasa port. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

The volume of cargo handled at Mombasa port has increased despite the Covid-19 pandemic.

The port handled 9.54 million tonnes of cargo in the first three months of this year, up from 8.62 million tonnes it processed in the same period last year.

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) said on Friday that the 10.7 per cent growth in business was due to increased efficiency at the facility and the opening up of other ports such as those in China.

In the latest report, KPA said the port recorded the highest performance in terms of average container traffic, handling an average of 4,662 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) per day.

TEU is an exact unit used to measure cargo capacity for containers. In February 2019, the port processed 4,279 TEU.

In the first quarter of this year, the port also witnessed increased volumes in container traffic registering 389,515 TEU against 340,812 TEUs recorded in a similar period in 2020.

“Transshipment traffic recorded 69,658 TEUs against 41,363 TEUs during the corresponding period in 2020,” said the report.

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“The container traffic translates to an increase of 48,703 TEUs or 14.3 per cent while transshipment traffic registered a growth of 28,295 TEUs or 68.4 per cent.”

Rashid Salim, KPA’s acting managing director said that February this year was captured as the highest performing month ever in terms of daily average container throughput traffic with 4,662 TEUs, beating the record daily average throughput of 4,279 TEUs recorded in July 2019.

He said total recorded imports during the quarter were 162,504 TEUs, up from 151,998 TEUs in the corresponding period of 2020, registering a growth of 6.9 per cent.

Equally, exports registered an upsurge by 6.8 per cent from 146,049 TEUs in 2020 to 156,007 TEUs this year.

“A total of 3.48 million tonnes were recorded in the month of March 2021 against 2.71 million tons realised in the corresponding month in 2020, representing a positive performance of 768,453 tons or 28.4 per cent,” Eng Salim said.

“The performance was mainly attributed to increase in handling of wheat and clinker cargo within the month compared to the same period in 2020.” 

He said the port is likely to surpass its performance by the end of the year.

Salim said Mombasa has become a port of choice for shippers after a container vessel, MV SL Twenty, made its first call at the port on Wednesday and discharged 769 TEU containers.

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