Do more to make port of Mombasa competitive

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Kenya Ports Authority Managing Director William Ruto. FILE PHOTO | WACHIRA MWANGI | NMG

As the Mombasa port prepares for fresh dredging, it is important for the Kenya Ports Authority to be efficient and competitive against its main rival in Dar es Salaam.

The port, built in 1895, is the main trade gateway for the Eastern Africa region, serving Kenya and seven neighbours, including Uganda, Somalia, Rwanda and South Sudan.

But its dominance is under threat from Dar es Salaam, which has inked agreements with Dubai state-owned ports operator DP World to operate part of the Tanzanian facility for 30 years.

DP World has committed to invest $250 million (Sh37.5 billion) over the next five years to upgrade the port, focusing on improving cargo clearing systems and eliminating delays.

This is the script that the Mombasa port must deploy in the race to improve its effectiveness and efficiency by reducing cargo clearance time and increasing capacity to process more vessels per month.

Dredging to allow bigger ships is welcome, but the port authorities must also get pricing right to take advantage of the growing demand for imported cargo in the region.

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