Mombasa port makes key gains

The Port of Mombasa has recorded increased cargo volumes attributed to a set of reforms and heavy investment along Northern Corridor which have significantly reduced cost of transport to landlocked countries.

Cross-border trade facilitation at One Stop Border Post (OSBP) has also been key in attracting landlocked countries to trade with the Kenyan port, resulting to increase of cargo throughput.

On Wednesday last week, the Port of Mombasa crossed its one million mark, with the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) managing director Daniel Manduku saying the low cost of operations, among other gains, has attracted regional countries to use the facility more.

“This year we crossed the one million mark three months before the close of the year and it’s a good indicator as we aim to beat the 1.3 million Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) target compared to 1.2 million TEUs last year,” said Mr Manduku during a media tour last week.

South Sudan, Uganda and DR Congo form the major share of port users.

According to a latest report by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), cost of transport in landlocked countries in East African reduced by more than 16 percent due to infrastructure investments and cross-border trade facilitation along the corridor.

“Port usage share for Mombasa Port is expected to change due to the (Northern) Corridor and OSBP development and it would contribute to broadening its hinterland to Tanzania border, eastern part of South Sudan, and Burundi,” read part of the report.

Reforms in the Northern Corridor which have boosted trade at the Port of Mombasa include the introduction of weigh in motion weighbridges and reduction of number of border point checks, enabling trucks to move faster.

Use of technology to track cargo has been one of the changes that has increased efficiency.

Introduction of the Standard Gauge Railway, enabling seamless evacuation of cargo from the port by rail, has reduced delays which were being experienced before such as scanning of transit cargo, delays in verification of cargo, overstay of cargo at Container Freight Stations.

Port of Mombasa has been ranked fifth in Africa in cargo volumes after Egypt’s Port Said, Durban in South Africa, Tanger Med in Morocco, and Alexandria in Egypt.