KPA boosts fresh produce exporters with 1,367 container charging points

Kenya Ports Authority Managing Director William Ruto.  

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has installed more than 1,300 power points at its shipment facilities between Mombasa and Naivasha to run refrigerated containers, boosting fresh produce exporters shipping their consignments by sea.

Refrigerated containers, also called reefer containers, are used for goods that require temperature controls during shipping. The special containers are equipped with a refrigeration unit that has to be plugged into an electrical source at a depot, terminal, or on board a vessel.

The reefer containers are used to ship fruits and vegetables, meat, fish (fresh or frozen), milk and dairy products, flowers, pharmaceuticals, juice and concentrate, and chocolate.

KPA managing director William Ruto said the agency has installed 795 container charging points in Mombasa, 336 in Nairobi, 216 in Lamu, and 20 in Naivasha.

“We have been receiving fresh produce from Tanzania and other parts of the country. We increased plugging points due to increased demand. In handling this fresh produce, shippers of containerised perishable produce are granted priority to land in all our entry gates,” said Captain Ruto.

He said the charging points would support traders who prefer sea transport of avocados, vegetables, flowers and other fresh produce.

The KPA targets to upscale the number of reefer charging points and also prioritise fresh produce at scanning points at different port facilities to ensure quick truck turn-around time.

One of the fresh produce companies, Vertical Agro (EPZ) Limited, said sea transportation has a lower cost as compared to air transport.

“The introduction of special refrigerated containers and plugging points at port facilities has turned out to be a game changer. The cost has significantly gone down,” said Vertical Agro CEO Hasit Shah.

Maersk Eastern Africa’s head of integrated sales, cold chain, Karen Rono said the shipping lines have invested in the cold chain supply, which is now attracting more traders in the region.

“Since the introduction of refrigerated containers, port users from East Africa have taken advantage of Mombasa port, which installed more than 1300 plugging points catering to the demand,” she said.

Earnings from fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and cut flowers grew by 15.2 percent between January and April, boosted by higher export volumes.

Data from the Central Bank of Kenya shows horticulture earnings grew to $363 million (Sh46.9 billion) over the four months.

PAYE Tax Calculator

Note: The results are not exact but very close to the actual.