AFRICA SHIPPING LINE CHINA CONTAINER OPERATION


Container traffic through Kenya’s biggest port grew 12.8 per cent in the first six months of this year. This is after the Government built new cargo handling facilities to shorten the turnaround time for ships. Overall cargo volumes handled by Mombasa Port grew from a slight drop last year largely due to anxiety in the run-up to the March 2013 elections. The port handled 11.9 million tonnes, up from 10.5 million tonnes handled over the same period in 2013. Import tonnage went up 11.7 per cent posting 10.06 million tonnes, compared to 8.99 million tonnes registered last year.

At the same time, exports increased by 13.9 per cent to hit 1.65 million tonnes against 1.45 million tonnes handled in 2013. “The first six months of this year have witnessed an overall positive performance compared to a similar period last year. We have gone through an intensive but very exciting half year at the Port,” Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Managing Director Gichiri Ndua, said.

He spoke during the annual KPA Stakeholders’ Business Luncheon held at the Intercontinental Hotel, Nairobi last Wednesday. The Indian Ocean port of Mombasa is a bellwether for economic activity in the region as it handles imports for Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia and exports of tea and coffee from the region.

According to Ndua, dwell time, which denotes the time it takes to clear cargo at the port, went down from 5.8 last year to 3.7 days, a 36 per cent improvement. In tandem, truck transit time, which refers to the time a truck takes from the port once it leaves the gates to the border at Busia or Malaba, went down from seven to four days, while vessel turnaround time was constant at 3.4 days. Neighbouring countries Container traffic grew by 11.5 per cent, reaching 463,807 TEUs (Twenty foot equivalent) compared to 415,948 TEUs registered during the same period in 2013, above the global average growth rate of eight per cent per annum. The volume of goods destined for neighbouring countries increased, rising by 9.6 per cent to 3.53 million tonnes after the opening of a new berth at the port in August last year. Uganda, which is Kenya’s biggest trading partner increased its usage of the port during the period under review. 


Ugandan cargo handled at the port grew 14.4 per cent to 2.72 million tonnes, up from 2.38 million tonnes registered for a comparable period in 2013. Rwanda recorded a 12.5 per cent growth to realise 110,540 tonnes, up from 98,240 tonnes in 2013. KPA Chairman Danson Mungatana stressed the importance of a properly established land and marine transport system as a prerequisite for economic growth. 

“It is clear that no success in the management of a full transport system can be achieved by any one party in isolation. Success calls for input from every player in the logistic chain and indeed from everyone in the entire social fabric,” Mungatana noted. Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Michael Kamau said a number of ongoing infrastructural projects to improve the port’s efficiency levels and capacity have kicked off.