By ANTHONY KITIMO
Kenya Ports Authority is preparing to handle more cargo at the Mombasa port after the completion of a second container terminal (CT2) that can accommodate at least 450 twenty-foot-containers at a time.
The CT2, which is part of the Mombasa port development programme, is designed to accommodate larger vessels.
According to KPA, the terminal will give the port a competitive edge over neighboring ports, mainly in Dar es Salaam and Djibouti.
“CT2 will have three berths with quay lengths of 230 metres, 320 meters and 350 metres. The larger berths will handle Panamax container ships of 20,000 deadweight tonnage (DWT) and Post Panamax vessels of 60,000 DWT,” said acting managing director John Mwangemi.
By 2023, the port of Mombasa is expected to handle about 1.732 million twenty foot equivalent units up from the current 1.42 million. It is estimated the port will handle 47 million tonnes of cargo in the next 10 years from the current 30 million tonnes and up to 111 million tonnes by 2047.
Already KPA has procured salvage boats worth $16.65 million and three ship-to-shore gantry cranes at $28.9 million to boost efficiency and bulk handling at the CT2.
The developments at the Kenya’s main seaport comes amid a shift in the global shipping industry, which is moving towards the use of large vessels for economies of scale.
Mombasa port remains a key facility for the country’s international trade, and serves landlocked Uganda, South Sudan, Eastern DRC, Burundi and Rwanda.
To effectively complete with other neighboring ports, KPA has developed other peripheral infrastructures along the Northern Corridor, including the Inland Container Deport in Nairobi and the Naivasha dry port, which are key for cargo destined for both Kenya and neighboring states via the standard gauge railway.
Kisumu Port has also been refurbished at a cost of Sh700 million, and is expected to support revival of trade on Lake Victoria, mainly in the Kenya-Tanzania-Uganda markets.
To improve the country’s ports, rail and logistics services, the government has formed the Kenya Transport and Logistics Network (KTLN), which consolidates operations of KPA, Kenya Pipeline and the Kenya Railways Corporation, coordinated by the Industrial and Commercial Development Corporation.