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Murkomen: Port modernisation drives 3.3pc surge in cargo volume at Mombasa Port

 Congestion of containers at the port of Mombasa. [File, Standard]

The ongoing modernisation of equipment at the port of Mombasa has led to a surge in the volume of cargo processed, according to Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen. This increased efficiency at the port has significantly contributed to the rise in cargo handling.

However, certain freight logistics experts have pointed out that the August upswing in cargo processed at Mombasa follows a typical trend. They explain that importers tend to place their orders in June following the budget reading.

Isabella Kariuki, a clearing and forwarding agent, explained that most importers delay orders until after the government announces its fiscal policy and tax changes.

"It is common that volumes rise because most importers avoid ordering goods in May and June, waiting for budget readings. This is cargo ordered in late June or July," said Kariuki.

On Tuesday, August 15, CS Murkomen reported a surge in cargo volume from 17.48 million tons handled in 2022 to an impressive 18.06 million tons this year, marking a 3.3 per cent increase.

He also noted that container traffic had risen from 722,063 TEUs to 783,125 TEUs, indicating an 8 per cent increase.

"These numbers reflect the success of our strategic plans," stated Murkomen.

Murkomen revealed that the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) had replaced outdated cranes in line with its policy of updating equipment that has outlived its usefulness.

The new cranes boast an impressive hoisting speed of 80 meters per minute, surpassing the 70 meters per minute hoisting speed of the replaced ones.

The new cranes are also capable of lifting a maximum of 65 tons in a twin lift motion, which is a significant improvement from the previous cranes.

Highlighting the advancements, Murkomen mentioned that the speed of the trolleys on the new cranes makes them superior to the ones imported 19 years ago.

"We stand as a beacon, illuminating the path for imports and exports, igniting economic prosperity not only within our nation but throughout the region," emphasized Murkomen.

He added that KPA has plans to acquire more equipment to meet the evolving needs of importers and exporters in the East and Central African region. Murkomen noted the authority's continuous investment in infrastructure, highlighting the presence of 16 Ship-to-Shore Gantries and 25 Reach Stackers at Mombasa port.

CS Murkomen made these remarks during a visit to Container Terminal Berth 16 at Mombasa port, where he witnessed the discharge of four new Ship-to-Shore Gantry cranes imported from China by KPA to enhance port operations. The cranes, valued at Sh5.8 billion, arrived at the port aboard the cargo carrier MV Zhen Hua 35 two weeks ago.

Murkomen emphasised that the strategic deployment of these new cranes signifies a substantial step forward in the journey towards modernizing the port.

Alongside KPA Board Chairman Benjamin Tayari and KPA Managing Director William Ruto, he asserted that Mombasa port is on track to become the premier port of choice within the region.

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