President Uhuru Kenyatta is expected to launch the Sh32 billion second container terminal at Mombasa later this month, cementing Kenya's position as the regional hub.
The terminal, to start operations in the coming weeks will accommodate an additional 450 twenty-foot containers and increase the handling capacity to 1.7 million from the current 1.42 million.
It is part of the Mombasa Port Development Programme designed to accommodate larger vessels, giving it a competitive edge over Dar es Salaam and Djibouti ports.
Mombasa Port is the gateway for landlocked countries including Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“It will have three berths with lengths of 230,320 and 350 metres. The larger berths will handle Panamax container ships of 20,000 deadweight tonnage and post Panamax vessels of 60,000,” said acting Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) managing director John Mwangemi.
The official said the installed capacity at the port keeps up with the constantly growing volumes and the associated demand for services.
By 2023, the Port of Mombasa is expected to handle approximately 1.7 million containers up from the current 1.4 million.
Already KPA has procured multipurpose salvage tugboats and three ship-to-shore gantry cranes at $28.9 million for use at the new terminal to boost efficiency and bulk handling activities.
The project was undertaken by Japan’s Toyo Construction Company commenced in September 2018, and with its completion, it will open up debate on the management of the facility to pay the loan.
One of the conditions for funding the terminal by the Japanese government was that it would be operated privately.
Mombasa Port remains a key facility for the country’s international trade and serves landlocked countries of Uganda, South Sudan, Eastern DRC, Burundi and Rwanda.