Mombasa registers more cargo as KPA ups handling efficiency

Kenya Ports Authority Gantry Cranes offloading containers at the container terminal’s Port of Mombasa in Mombasa County. [Maarufu Mohamed, Standard]

The Port of Mombasa has defied the hard-hitting global economic conditions compounded by the heavy rains to register marked improvement in its operational efficiency.

The port has experienced a substantial increase in cargo throughput, reduced ship waiting time and vessel turnaround time, signaling a promising outlook for this year’s performance.

Kenya Ports Authority said in a statement Saturday that cargo volumes of 29.66 million tonnes were recorded between January and October, up from 28.69 million tonnes handled in the same period in 2022, representing a 3.4 per cent increase.

Container traffic rose by 10.2 per cent to 1,322,999 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in the same period, up from 1,200,832 TEUs in the same period in 2022.

A positive performance was also witnessed in the transit market segment, which registered 9.30 million tonnes against 8.67 million tonnes handled in 2022, a 7.3 per cent increase.

Container vessel turnaround time, a key indicator of port competitiveness, improved from an average of three days in 2022 to two days in 2023.

The average container dwell time for January-October 2023 has reduced to 3.5 days from 3.9 days in 2022, an improvement of 10 per cent.

The low dwell time is despite having a higher free storage period of four and 15 days for local and transit containers, underpinning the efficiency of services in the port.

Currently, the ship waiting time for containerised vessels is 0.2 days, while the gross vessel turnaround time is 64.1 hours compared to 90.5 hours in the corresponding period in 2022, registering a marked improvement in ship port time.

Equally, Bulk Cargo vessel turnaround time stands at 3.6 days, while car carrier vessel turnaround time is at 0.9 days. General cargo and Tanker vessels’ turnaround time is 7.2 days and 4.3 days, respectively.

Many aspects of this impressive performance are way above what is being witnessed and experienced in other regional ports.

KPA managing director, Captain William Ruto, has also attributed this improved performance to several developments and other efficiency initiatives that the authority has continued to implement.

“These initiatives include the expansion of container handling berths, increased automation of services, acquisition of modern ship and cargo handling equipment and improved partnerships with key government agencies and stakeholders,” he said.

Currently, the Port of Mombasa has a contingent of 16 ship-to-shore gantries (STSs), 25 reach stackers, 27 empty container handlers, 58 rubber-tired and eight rail-mounted gantries, among other equipment.

Last year, KPA installed three new STSs at the newly completed berth number 22.

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