The Mombasa Port management has lifted a ban on trans-shipment of cargo meant for Tanzania after clearing excess cargo. Ships planning to offload cargo meant for Dar es Salaam port can now use the port of Mombasa, management says.

This comes after the container terminal’s cargo figures were reduced from a high of 19,000 twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs) recorded at the peak of the post-election violence to 13,000 (TEUs).

The port was declared congestion-free by Mr Haji Masemo, the public relations officer and personal assistant to KPA managing director Abdalla Mwaruwa.

Mombasa port had for a while refused to accept Tanzanian cargo due to congestion at the Dar es Salaam port of Tanzania which is also facing severe congestion that has so far led to the imposition of the punitive vessel delay surcharge (VDS).

Even with the surcharge in force, there has been no improvement in cargo offtake from the port with ships having to wait an average of 10 days before clearance.

This situation forces vessels to seek alternative ports to offload cargo that can be transferred to the intended port and with Mombasa not able to cope, the ships had to wait in Tanzania.

The port’s efforts to clear the congestion included the use of privately-operated container freight stations that accommodated excessive containers.

The resumption of services by the Kenya's Rift Valley Railways has also helped.

The declaration comes in the backdrop of reports that there are thousands of containers meant for Mombasa being held overseas until the port was clear.

Mr Masemo confirmed the reports but said they would not cause a crisis.

International banks are said to be cautious about issuing clearance documents (L/C)
especially for vehicle consignments due to the volatile situation, thus there are several consignments meant for Mombasa being held, specifically in Japan.