It's smooth sailing for Mombasa Port despite post-election jitters

Kipevu Oil Terminal at the Port of Mombasa has been operating at full capacity. [David Gichuru, Standard]

As Kenyans wait with bated breath for the final election tally, including that of the presidency, the Port of Mombasa continues to operate at full capacity.

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), in its latest release, otherwise known as the 14-day shipping list, said 37 vessels will call the Port of Mombasa in the next two weeks. "Seven car carriers, 13 container ships, three oil tankers and 14 conventional cargo ships, will during this period discharge/load the varied cargo," KPA said.

General Manager Operations and Harbour Master, Captain Godfrey Namadoa, said there were no ship waiters (vessels waiting to enter harbour) and the newly opened Sh40 billion Kipevu Oil Terminal (KOT) II was operating at full capacity, with three oil tankers discharging assorted oil cargo.

And marine operations including pilotage services at the new KOT shall be provided 24/7 and will improve molecule fluidity in the mid-stream supply chain and ensure price stability of petroleum products in Kenya and the region.

KPA listed vessels which have docked at the port or sailed on the high seas at the facility as carrying various commodities like bulk wheat, wire rods, bagged rice, vehicles, gasoil, vegetable oil, bulk fertiliser, bitumen, steel products and containers.

KPA General Manager Corporate Services Edward Kamau, in excerpts contained in the Annual Review and Bulletin of Statistics, said over the last five years, cargo throughput registered an annual compounded growth of 5.7 per cent from 27.36 million metric tonnes in 2016 to 34.12 million metric tonnes in 2020.

He added that container traffic has been registering a moderate compounded growth of 5.6 per cent rising from 1,091,371 TEUs in 2016 to 1,359,579 TEUs over the same period.

Kamau said Uganda traffic grew by 4.9 per cent while South Sudan went up by 15.3 per cent and emerged as a key transit market crossing the 'one million metric tonne' mark for the first time.

In the meantime, the Tanger Med Port Authority of Morocco is set to enter a sister ports arrangement with the port of Mombasa to enhance collaboration.

This arrangement was reached following an official tour by KPA directors. ''The MoU will assist the authority build capacities of its staff through training opportunities in port operations, including pilots simulation programs and cargo handling,'' KPA said.

This arrangement will enable the two learn best practices from each other with a view to improving port performance. The port of Tanger is the biggest port in the continent in cargo volumes, having moved 7 million Twenty Feet Equivalent Unit (TEUs) container volume in 2021.

The Tanger Med Port Complex handled more than 7 million TEU in 2021, up 24 per cent compared to the previous year. Overall, the port handled a total of 7,173,870 TEU in 2021. The commissioning of the TC4 terminal in 2019 and TC3 terminal in 2021 is said to have had a large hand in ramping up container handling at the port.