KPA cargo capacity rises

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Kenya Ports Authority’s(KPA) new port developments have led to an increase in cargo handling capaity by 11 percent.

The Japan –funded project (Kipevu Container Terminal) did cost USD217 million. It includes three new berths adding an additional 900 meters (2,952 feet) in quay length to the existing 840 meters, with an alongside depth of 15 meters and a 35-hectare (86 acres) container yard. Two ship-to-shore cranes and four rubber tire gantry cranes are operating at the site.

The port increased its ability to handle 7.2 million tonnes of cargo between January and March this year compared to 6.5 milllion in a similar period last year.

It handled 877,778 tonnes in exports, up four per cent on the 845,068 tonnes handled in the same period last year.The port is located in Mombasa.

In addition to the development of container terminals includes building of access roads, weighbridges and capacity building for customs clearance processes. A new port access road will have capacity of 750,000 TEUs per year and a railway station with four rail mounted gantry cranes is being constructed.

Mombasa is the second-largest port in Africa by cargo tonnage and container throughput and the port is preparing for an upsurge in competition from the giant Chinese-invested Bagamoyo Port in Tanzania. Container throughput increased 6.3 percent to 1.1 million TEUs in 2015, while total cargo throughput in tonnage terms expanded 7.5 percent to 26,732 million tons. According to KPA, the new facility is expected to support growth to 1.32 million TEUs in 2016.

Construction of a dedicated cruise ship terminal at the Port of Mombasa was also launched last year December, with an estimate cost of 350 million Kenya Shillings, to be funded in part by Trademark East Africa to the extent of 100 million Kenya Shillings while the Kenya Ports Authority will fund the balance.

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This will bring Mombasa in line with the ports in South Africa and on the islands like Seychelles, Reunion and Mauritius.

Over the last year did some 10 cruise ships dock in Mombasa and brought lots of passengers to Kenya.

Mombasa is one of three areas in Africa that currently receives Japanese funding and other assistance for development. A further $500 million has been allocated by Japan for investment in the port, with close to half of that already made available as a loan for development of the MPDP second phase.

“The emphasis is put on infrastructure development, which promotes logistics with neighboring landlocked nations, considering the importance of Kenya as a hub for logistics in Africa. Japan will assist not only hard infrastructure development, but also technical aspects such as support for smooth customs clearance and the entire maintenance and management of developed infrastructure,” said the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the agency that coordinates overseas development assistance for the government of Japan.

The Indian Ocean port of Mombasa, the biggest in East Africa and the region’s trade gateway, is seen as a measure of economic activity in the region, handling imports of fuel and consumer goods as well as exports of tea and coffee for landlocked neighbours such as Uganda and South Sudan.

Kenya will hold a General Election on August 8, Voters will pick a president, parliament and local authorities. Investors and consumers are taking a wait-and-see attitude due to concerns about potential violence during the polls.