Shipping & Logistics

Port cargo up marginally as trade recovers from Covid woes

port

Cargo containers at the Port of Mombasa on January 11, 2022. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

Summary

  • The Port of Mombasa recorded marginal growth in cargo volumes last year as business steadily recovers following the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • During the period, the port registered 34.54 million tonnes against 34.12 million tonnes handled in the same period in 2020, representing a growth of 1.2 percent.

The Port of Mombasa recorded marginal growth in cargo volumes last year as business steadily recovers following the Covid-19 pandemic.

During the period, the port registered 34.54 million tonnes against 34.12 million tonnes handled in the same period in 2020, representing a growth of 1.2 percent.

Container traffic recorded 1,435,565 twenty equivalent units (TEUs) compared to 1,359,579 TEUs handled in the same period in 2020, representing an increase of 75,986 TEUs or 5.6 percent.

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) acting managing director John Mwangemi said the positive performance was mainly attributed to a continued recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic period which in 2020 severely impacted global economies.

“The pandemic had disrupted the global supply chain reducing international trade that affected many ports in the world. Similarly, the performance is attributable to improved resource planning and efficiency of business processes,” said Mr Mwangemi.

Transshipment traffic was 220,489 TEUs in 2021 against 175,827 TEUs in 2020, representing a growth of 25.4 percent.

“Transshipment has proved to be a lucrative and sensitive business that all ports strive to tap into. Lamu port has also contributed greatly where the facility has so far handled nine vessels cumulatively and a total of 1,619 TEUs since operationalisation in May last year,” Mr Mwangemi said.

In the report, the 2021 container traffic performance surpassed both the 2020 and the 2019 performances. In 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic, the port handled 1,416,654 TEUs which is surpassed by the 2021 performance by 18,911 TEUs or 1.3 percent.

On ship waiting time, performance indicators have shown that the port has continued to operate efficiently this year despite the pandemic.

The report indicates that the Port of Mombasa had no ships waiting from the second quarter of 2021 to the end of the year, save for the time the Likoni bridge was closed for pedestrian to cross the channel as ships waited.

The bridge is closed to ships for eight hours daily. Arriving vessels and those ready to depart have to wait for four hours on either end to allow pedestrian to cross the channel.

Ship productivity also improved due to enhanced labour and equipment planning, with vessel productivity increasing from 33 moves per hour to 39 moves with highs of 45 moves per hour in September.

Efficient ship and yard planning and improved cargo evacuation through SGR have boosted the efficiency of the port.