Sh32bn terminal pushes Kenya's harbours to top five in Africa

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Acting MD John Mwangemi inside the Lamu Port in Lamu County. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

Kenya now is among the countries with the five largest harbours in Africa after completion and handover of a Sh32 billion container terminal in Mombasa.

The Japanese contractor handed over the second container terminal to the Kenya Ports Authority this week in a major boost to maritime trade.

The new terminal put up by Toyo Construction Company, brings on board an additional annual capacity of 450,000 Tonnes Equivalent Units (TEUs) to the Mombasa port, a move that will increase the turnaround time for ships docking at the facility.

Toyo contractor commenced the construction of the terminal in September 2018 and has completed it within the set timelines ahead of its official opening by President Uhuru Kenyatta.

The project comprised the construction of the 300-metre long berth number 22 and other administrative facilities. The contract for the terminal also included delivery of cargo handling equipment including four Ship to Shore Gantry (SSG) and 12 Rubber Tyred Gantry (RTG) cranes.

KPA acting MD John Mwangemi, said with a total of 2.1 million TEUs annual capacity currently, the facility is now among the top five ports in Africa.

“We shall put our best foot forward to ensure optimal utilisation of this facility for the benefit of Kenya and the region,” said Mr Mwangemi.

KPA says with the completion of the project, the authority has achieved its target of expanding capacity ahead of demand.

By 2023, the Port of Mombasa is expected to handle approximately 1.7 million containers up from the current 1.4 million.

Toyo Construction Company project manager Haruo Yoshida said although the project was disrupted by Covid-19, it was completed on time.

“Some notable challenges encountered included the stakeholder environmental concerns and the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, both of which threatened suspension of the project or even potential termination of the contract," he said.

The new terminal 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 remains a key facility for the country’s international trade and serves the landlocked countries of Uganda, South Sudan, Eastern DRC, Burundi and Rwanda.

The Port is the gateway for landlocked countries including Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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