KPA spends Sh5.8b to acquire new cranes to boost efficiency

Containers being loaded into a ship at the Port of Mombasa on April 4, 2023. The Kenya Ports Authority has acquired new equipment to boost efficiency at the facility. [File, Standard]

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has acquired modern equipment worth Sh5.8 billion to boost efficiency at the Port of Mombasa.

KPA said it acquired four new ship-to-shore gantry cranes to improve productivity in the loading and offloading of ships.

Managing Director William Ruto said the equipment will arrive from China next month.

He said the new cranes can lift two containers ago, unlike the existing ones that lift one container.

The decision to phase out the old cranes comes at a time a new report by the World Bank on the efficiency of the ports revealed that the port of Dar in Tanzania has overtaken Mombasa in efficiency.

The ports of Mombasa and Dar are engaged in cutthroat competition for business, and efficiency is key to attracting traders. 

Ruto said as part of an ambitious plan to improve performance, KPA is also expecting five new Habour Mobile Cranes this week.

The MD said three of the mobile cranes will be deployed at Lamu Port and the remaining two at Mombasa Port.

Replace the old ones

“The equipment, which has been imported from China, is expected to arrive in the country next month to replace the old ones which are being phased out because they have outlived their life span,” said Ruto.

Ruto said the corporation had gone for the new gantries because they are more robust and powerful as they can lift two containers once as opposed to the old single cranes.

The arrival of the four new Ships to Shore Gantry Cranes in July will ensure the port has more reliable equipment to improve ship operations and reduce ship turnaround time.

In the last three months since KPA's new management was changed the average container dwell time in the port has improved from four days to three and a half days.

The Port of Mombasa currently can handle 2.1 million TEUs and so far it has been able to handle slightly less than 1.5 million TEUs annually.