Position Lat 2°18’S; long 40°55’E. Description Lamu is a small historic town port popular with international cruise ships. Lamu town was declared as a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2001.

Secure port with safe anchorages deep enough for vessels of up to 100 metres length and 5.2 meters draught. Maximum tidal range 3.5 metres. Inner anchorage depths vary between 6.O meters and 8.0 meters. Turning basin for ships over 80 meters restricted except near Shella.

Small jetties at Lamu, Shella and Manda Island used by local dhows and small craft for landing goods and passengers. Mokowe Jetty with a Draft 5.0 meters is the main jetty linking mainland and Island. The channel is marked by buoys and Leading (Range marks).

Large ships anchor outside the port and personnel ferried to inner harbour by boats. Main occupation fishing, tourism and cutting mangrove poles. Lamu is famous for traditional wooden boat building and furniture curving.

Towage No Tugs available. Tugs can be ordered from Mombasa (120 miles) on notice. Airport Airstrip located on the Manda Island for small passenger planes. Daily flights available to and from Nairobi and Malindi.


Description Location: Lat 4°04’S; long 39°41’E The Port of Mombasa is the Principal Kenyan seaport and comprises of Kilindini Harbour and Port Reitz on the Eastern side of the Mombasa Island and the Old Port and Port Tudor north of the Mombasa Island.

Kilindini Port is naturally deep and well sheltered and is the main harbour where most of the shipping activities take place. It has 16 deep water berths, two oil terminals and safe anchorages and mooring buoys for sea-going ships. The Old Port is entered between Ras Serani and Mackenzie Point and is used only by dhows and small coasting vessel of 55 metres LOA. A cement loading facility is located opposite the old port jetty at Ras Kidomoni (English Point) for bulk cement carriers of up to 150 metres LOA and 8.0 metres draught.

The Port of Mombasa not only serves Kenya but is also the main gateway to the Eastern African hinterland countries of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, DRC and Southern Sudan. The port of Mombasa is managed and operated by the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) a semi-autonomous government parastatal. KPA also manage the small sea ports of Kiunga, Lamu, Malindi, Kilifi, Mtwapa, Funzi, Shimoni, and Vanga.

KPA vision is to transform the port of Mombasa into one of the top 20 ports in the world. KPA launched its 25 year Master Plan and Strategic Plan in 2005 which aim at transforming the port into an E-Port. The port of Mombasa recently invested over 5 billion Kenya shillings in new cargo handling equipment and marine craft under its equipment replacement plan KPA is ISPS compliant and is in the process of installing an integrated security system and constructing a control tower fitted with radar monitoring and traffic management system to enhance security.

Facilities and services 

The port is a multi-purpose port capable of handling all type of cargo including containers, general cargo, liquid and dry cargo and passengers. It has the following facilities: 16 Deep water berths and 2 oil terminals draft ranging between 9.75 and 13.25 meters Deep water anchorages and mooring buoys for sea-going ships. The container Terminal Berths 16, 17 and 18 form the container terminal. The three berths form a 600 meters quay length with a draft of 10.36 meters. Designed capacity 1,000,000 TEUs annually.

Medium size container ships of up to 5,000 TEUs can be accommodated. There is a 250 meters deep back-up area of 14 hectors for stacking and handling containers. The terminal is served by 4 STS, 12 RTGs and 2 RMG all acquired in 2005 and a number of other terminal handling equipment. The designed capacity of the terminal has almost been doubled.

By 2004 over 430,000 TEUs were handled. In view of this Berths 13 and 14 are used as container berths. Ships use their own cranes as no gantry cranes are installed on these berths. General Cargo Berths Berths 1 to 12 are general cargo berths for handling general cargo ships carrying loose cargo, steel products, bagged cargo etc. Berth 1 and 2 are designated as cruise ship berths and can handle cruise ships of up to 300 meters length and 9.75 meters draft. Ro-Ro facilities are available at the general cargo berths mostly Berths 1 and 5 The General cargo berths are served by electric luffing portal cranes with capacity of 3 to 15 tonnes and supplemented by fork lifts, trailers and mobile cranes.

The Oil Terminals 

There are two main oil terminals: Kipevu Oil Terminal, situated on the mainland Port Reitz area, is designed to accommodate crude oil tankers up to 100,000 dwt, depth alongside 13.41 metres at LOWST, maximum LOA 259 metres. Shimanzi Oil Terminal can accommodate vessels up to 30,000 dwt, 198.1 metres LOA, and 9.75 metres draught. Slop tank facilities available. Vegetable oil handling and storage facilities are available at the Mbaraki Wharf, Berth 10 and SOT and are operated by two private companies Gulf Stream and East African Storage.

Specialised Bulk handling facilities 

 A modern grain bulk handling facility owned and operated by GBHL is located at Berth 3 and is capable of handling ships of up to 45,000 tons deadweight with 10 meters draft. Discharge is by a combined system of Portolinos and conveyor belts. Discharge rate is 200 metric tons an hour and storage capacity is 68000 tons on silos and 18000 tons on covered shades. At the Mbarki wharf facilities are provided for handling bulk/bagged cement, fluorspar, coal, clinker, molasses and bulk petroleum and vegetable oil.

The Wharf is 315.75 metres long with 10.36 metres depth. Several private companies including Bamburi Portland, Kenya Fluorspar, East African Storage and Tecaflex have storage facilities behind the wharf. Beth 9 caters for the loading of soda ash by means of a conveyor belt and is operated by Magadi Soda who are the sole exporters of soda ash Nautical Access The entrance from the sea to Kilindini Harbour is by an approach channel 7 nautical miles long, 300 metres wide and dredged to a maximum depth of 13.7 ( 1997 ).

The channel is well marked by solar powered buoys and leading marks as per IALA system A requirements. Two traffic control stations direct and monitor the movement of ships in the channel. Inside the inner harbour deep and safe anchorages are provided for sea-going ships with draft of up to 13. 8m Siltation is minimum in Kilindini harbour and maintenance dredging is done every 5 years. Anchorage for coasters and fishing vessels is also available. Anchorage outside port area is not recommended due to the poor holding ground and heavy swell.

Tides and currents 

The Port is a tidal port with a tidal range of 4.0 metres maximum at spring tide and 2.5 metres at neap tides. Strong northerly currents of up to 6 knots and heavy swells are experienced near the channel entrance during the South East monsoon between April and October. Pilotage Pilotage is compulsory for all vessels except those exempted as per Tariff and KPA Act. All Pilots are master mariners with sea-going experience Towage 3 ASD Tugs (delivered in 2004) with 58 tons bollard pull and 5000HP. 1 Tug fixed propeller of 40 tons bollard pull (built in1982 now being refurbished). The 3 ASD tugs are fitted with pollution control, fire-fighting and salvage equipment. Tugs are compulsory when ordered by Pilots Largest vessel The port can accommodate vessels up to 13.71 metres draught and 300 metres LOA.

The channel has been dredged to allow fully laden tankers of up to 80,000 dwt to transit.

Bunkers Fuel oil CST 30, 40, 60, 80, 100 120, 150 180, marine diesel oil (DMB) marine gas oil (DMA) and lubricants are available at the SOT and by barges operated by a private company Alba Petroleum. Mombasa is one of the few ports where homogeneous blended fuel is available.

Fresh water

Fresh water is available on hydrants on certain berths but is not adequate. Trucks supply fresh water to ships and a 300 ton barge supply fresh water to vessels at anchor. Traffic The Port of Mombasa handled a total of 1779 ships and 12.92 million tonnes of cargo by 2004.

Imports and exports 

Main imports: Crude oil, fertilisers, salt, sugar, paper, iron and steel, motor vehicles, farm machinery, wheat, cola, maize. Main exports: Coffee, tea, soda ash, cement, canned fruit. Lloyd’s agent McLarens Toplis, Maritime House, Moi Avenue (PO Box 82208), Mombasa Tel: +254 (0)41 221068 E-mail:

Labour Day and Christmas Day are normally the only holidays on which the Port of Mombasa is closed, except for the necessary Pilotage of ships in and out of harbour and for dealing with mail, passengers and their baggage, livestock and perishables. On other public holidays, restricted working at Mombasa may be carried out at overtime rates. Medical aid Well equipped hospitals available in and around the port.

Fire-fighting and Ambulance Services 

The port has its own fire station manned around the clock. Several fire-engines and an ambulance are available. Special fire-fighting systems fitted at the two oil terminals. The 3 new tugs fitted with powerful fire pumps (600 cubic m/s).

Chandler Services..

Provisions Fresh provisions, vegetables available but quantities sometimes limited. ISSA members available include AFRICAN SHIPPING LINE -MOMBASA

Radio Radio communications available 24 hours a day on VHF Channels 12 and 16. GMDSS watch maintained Railway The port is linked to the hinterland in Kenya and Uganda by a railway line. The railway network inside the port is 1.5 Km

There are 5 ship repair facilities in the port KPA has its own Dockyard with slipways and workshop facilities for repairing KPA marine craft The Kenya Navy has a syncro-lift and workshop facilities for repairing its own fleet African Marine and General Engineering Co Ltd ( AMGECO )

Mombasa has a dry dock, length 180 metres, entrance width 24.75 metres, maximum water depth HWS 7.9 metres. Almost every type of repair work can be undertaken. AMGECO is ISO certificated Southern Engineering Co Ltd. has a floating dock for building and repairing small ships and boats and workshop facilities Comarco at Liwatoni owns a jetty and carry out small repairs and also undertakes salvage work.

There are 11 main quay transit sheds with a total floor area of 106,281 square metres and 4 back of port transit sheds with a total floor area of 43,625 square metres.

Tanker terminals Waste reception

Waste reception facilities available for garbage. The IMO approve waste reception facility for sludge and dirty ballast has been temporarily closed. Airport Moi International is about 3Km from the port and has daily regular local flights to Nairobi and international flights

Container Handling 

The container business is the fastest growing sector in the Port of Mombasa. About 70 per cent of the Port’s total cargo is transported in containers. The traffic is growing at a rate of 12 per cent per year. Mombasa Container Terminal opened in 1979,and is a purpose-built facility with three berths and four 40-ton Ship-to-Shore Gantry Cranes. The Port of Mombasa handled 438,000 TEUs by 2004 and 1,000,000 TEUs in 2015.

Through more efficient use of space and improved cargo handling facilities,Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) aims to reduce average dwell time to five days,which will effectively raise the capacity of the terminal. At the same time, the Port’s Authority is using its recently installed information technology (IT) system to reduce time-consuming documentation procedures,speed the flow of traffic and produce quicker turn-rounds for ships,trains and trucks.

A new office has been built within the terminal to accommodate all parties involved in container operations including The Customs Department,The Port Police and KPA Security. This new facility,opened in July 2003,will provide customers with a One-Stop Centre for document clearance.

KPA has already invested in several new container handling equipment, these include: four new Panamax Ship-to-Shore Gantry Cranes,twelve new Rubber Tyred Gantry Cranes capable of stacking four high, two new Rail Mounted Gantry Cranes,six 40-tonne SISU Reach Stackers – capable of stacking three high – and 30 Terminal Tractors. This will boost the handling rate to about 25 moves per hour for cellular vessels, thus bringing the terminal in line with international standards.

The implementation of a modern computerized integrated Port Operational and Management System incorporating; Administration,Terminal Planning,Ship planning,Yard,Rail and Gate management is also on track and is expected to be fully operational in the first quarter of 2008. This will finally culminate in the Interactive system between KPA and her stakeholders,the Community Based System.

In the longer term,KPA will create a second container terminal,just south of the existing facility,to give a combined throughput capacity of 700,000 TEUs. Berths Nos. 11 to 14 will be converted into a second facility called the East Container Terminal. Work has already begun on demolishing old sheds on these berths to free up space for the new terminal.