Mombasa Port walks into new year with fresh cargo plans laid out

A view of Kipevi oil terminal at Mombasa Port.  [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Just days into 2023, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) is banking more on new projects to impact on business in the near future.

The new Kipevu Oil Terminal Two (KOT II) and the second container terminal (CT2) which were commissioned this year are seen a as game changer as KPA moves into 2023 after significantly increasing cargo handling capacity at the port of Mombasa.

The new KOT which was built at a cost of Sh40 billion has modernised the handling of petroleum products at the port and is expected to attract bigger vessels and hence more business. 

This project, whose construction commenced in February 2019, was launched by former President Uhuru Kenyatta last year.

It has four berths. This means an expanded capacity to handle four tankers at any one time compared to the old Kipevu oil terminal which can handle one tanker at a time. KPA also runs the Shimanzi Oil Terminal.

The new Kepevu terminal can accommodate two bigger vessels of up of 170,000 deadweight tonnage and two ships of 120,000 deadweight tonnage consecutively compared to one ship of 110,000 deadweight tonnage on the old oil terminal, improving on capacity and efficiency on handling energy products hence significant economies of scale.

The facility also handles more varieties of products that include six different hydrocarbon products: Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG), crude oil or heavy fuel oil; and three types of white oil products that is DPK – aviation fuel, AGO – diesel and PMS – petrol.

Onshore pipelines

In addition, the facility has five onshore pipelines, each dedicated to a separate oil product, to existing Kenya Petroleum Refineries Limited (KPRL) and Kenya Pipeline Company Limited tanks in the existing tank storage areas.

In an interview, KPA head of corporate affairs Bernard Osero said the recent commissioning of the  KOT II has significantly transformed the handling of petroleum products at the port as bigger ships can be accommodated.

“The new KOT has increased oil handling capacity at the port. It can handle four ships as compared to one ship that used to dock at the old Kipevu oil terminal. The project is a game changer as it will positively impact on business,” he said.

The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum has earmarked the nearby KPRL as a key storage facility for petroleum products.

Meanwhile, the completion of the second phase of the second container terminal this year is expected to attract business in the coming years particularly following the increased use of the port by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) after it joined the East Africa Community.

The first and second phases of the second container terminal give the port an additional 900,000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (Teus) and big container yards that have reportedly ended cargo congestion at the facility.

The second container terminal was constructed at Sh62 billion which comprised Sh30 billion in phase one and Sh32 billion in the second phase.

Phase two of the second container terminal whose construction began mid-2018 has added a capacity of 450,000 teus per year, thereby pushing up Mombasa port’s capacity to 2.08 million teus.

Modern terminal

According to Osero, the modern cruise ship terminal at the port that recently handled its first vessel is also expected to significantly impact on the tourism sector in the country.

Addressing businesspeople during the recent KPA annual golf tournament in Mombasa, KPA chairman General (RTD) Joseph Kibwana dismissed reports that Mombasa Port faced threats of cargo congestion, saying the facility instead enjoys excess capacity.

Kibwana noted that KPA’s major project at the port this year has been the second container terminal which has provided the facility with a capacity to handle 47,000 containers a day against the average daily container population of 16,000.

He said the authority expected good business following the expansion of port capacity, opening of the Uganda-Rwanda border, rehabilitation of the Meter Gauge Railway (MGR) from Naivasha to Malaba and increased use of the port by DRC after it joined the East Africa Community.

KPA handled 34.5 million tonnes last year compared to 34.12 million tonnes in 2020. Kibwana stressed that the container traffic handled at the port stood at more than 1.4 million teus in 2020 and registered a 5.6 percent growth last year.

He observed that transit business stood at 7.5 million tonnes last year and will be higher this year following the increased use of the port by DRC.

KPA has also been keen to grow business at the new Lamu port even as it awaits the completion of roads to connect it with Ethiopia and South Sudan.

Last month, Lamu Port handled its first consignment of live animals destined to Salalah port, Oman; 11,200 live goats and sheep, and 200 bulls.

Lamu Port has received a total of 12 ships since its inauguration by former President Uhuru Kenyatta on May 20 last year.

Three months ago, KPA acquired a tugboat at Sh1.4 billion marking the start of a major equipment acquisition programme for the new port.

The government has built the first three berths at Sh40 billion. The new port is designed to have a total of 32 berths.

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