Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) workers have every reason to smile, after Maersk Kenya bought Personal Protecting Equipment (PPE) worth Sh10.6 million.
The move is meant to curb the spread of Covid-19 amongst the port workers and by extension their family members and other Kenyans operating at the Port of Mombasa.
The workers have kept essential supply chains moving across Kenya and neighbouring countries.
In March this year, tens of KPA staff in Mombasa got infected- necessitating drastic measures by the National government to contain the spread of the virus, which resulted in a gradual downscale of workers.
And to compliment government’s efforts, Maersk-one of the biggest users of the Port of Mombasa- has now moved in to provide KPA with critical items, ranging from hand sanitisers, protective face masks, disposable overalls, disposable medical gloves, infrared thermometers and protective eye wear.
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While receiving the donations, KPA Chairman (Rtd) General Joseph Kibwana said that the items will ensure the workers are protected and that the spread of the virus is reduced.
“We are truly grateful for this kind gesture by Maersk, these items will go a long way to ensure our workers are protected as they discharge their duties. This is a true testament of the solid relationship that exists between the two organizations,” said Kibwana.
@Maersk has today donated an assortment of items to Kenya Ports Authority to aid in the fight against Covid-19.
This includes protective face masks, disposable overalls,disposable medical gloves, hand sanitizers, infrared thermometers and protective eye wear. pic.twitter.com/Eg7CYtK6Ma — Kenya Ports (@Kenya_Ports) May 11, 2020
KPA has since rolled out strict mandatory procedures for ship crew and vessels, to ensure the disease is not exported in the course of carrying out maritime trade.
According to the retired general, the measures so far put in place by the government have proven effective because since the advent of the pandemic, no ship crew has been found to be positive the virus.
Maersk’s East Africa Port Captain Sharon Delphine is responsible for Maersk vessels and port operations, committed to continue supporting the Port of Mombasa, in a bid to ensure business continuity.
Delphine said that, as part of the donation to the East Africa’s largest port “another batch of the donation including 12,000 pieces of protective face masks is expected to arrive from South Africa in a few weeks.
“In line with our mission connecting and simplifying trade to help our customers grow and thrive. We are very committed in ensuring that KPA keep essential supply chains moving across Kenya and neighbouring countries, as Mombasa is a gateway to East Africa,” said Delphine.
The port has since received containership Ono, a pioneer vessel from the recently launched Jeddex line of the CMA CGM group- a French container transportation and shipping company.
The new service line will be offering a direct service between Kenya, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Somalia by deploying four dedicated vessels on a weekly basis.
“At the moment, the Port handles an average of 34million tons as total throughout a year and container traffic of 1.4 million TEUs. As KPA, we look forward to more cooperation with a view to supporting efficiency and business growth,” KPA acting Managing Director Rashid Salim said during the launch of the new service.
Exports from Mombasa will benefit by connecting to the Global Network via Jeddah offering transit times to European hubs -Genoa in 20 days, Rotterdam in 27 days, Fos-sur-Mer in 26 days and Antwerp in 33 days.