The Kenya Ports Authority will buy a salvage tugboat at a cost of Sh1.7 billion to undertake marine rescue operations during emergencies.
The boat will effectively provide rescue services, fire suppression at sea, maritime pollution control and salvage.
“The investment in the modern Azimuth Stem Driven tug is in line with the corporate equipment modernisation and maintenance programme that has since its inception contributed significantly towards enhancing port efficiency,” the KPA said in a statement.
KPA noted that the boat will have capability of executing tug services within and outside the port.
“The decision to acquire the salvage boat was reached after it was established that the authority was incurring a lot of expenses in hiring salvage services,” the statement added.
According to KPA, acquiring the tugboat will boost its revenue streams, noting that the only available salvage boat is in South Africa.
KPA further said it intends to commercialise dry docking facilities through introduction of a floating dock. The authority, now under Acting Managing Director Daniel Manduku after the resignation of Catherine Mturi-Wairi, has outlined measures to ensure efficiency and recently held its first board meeting under new team.
Dr Manduku said he will ensure efficiency is enhanced at the port.
“There are only two dry docking facilities in the region, therefore for us to diversify services we opted for this project whereby we will be charging ship owners for the services rendered,” said KPA in the statement.
The authority got a boost when Mombasa port set a new record in container handling operations following the discharge of 3,872 containers by a vessel in less than eight hours.
This was a third record performance registered in the container handling operations at the authority.
MV Livorno, a container carrying vessel also registered an average of 140 gross moves per hour (total container movement on loading, offloading and repositioning).
KPA, in a statement attributed the improved performance to well-coordinated operations and a motivated workforce.
The authority further said adequate utilisation of resources including the use of terminal tractors, ship to shore gantry cranes and dedicated yard equipment contributed to improvement performance. “Yard fluidity has contributed to the record breaking, such feats could be surpassed if the right measures are in place for workers,” KPA said.
According to the authority, the container operations team is motivated and every vessel at the port now completes at least 40 gross moves per hour. Meanwhile, building of a 30 kilometre dual carriage way from Nyali Bridge to Kanamai in Kilifi will start in December, a move that will ease congestion along the Mombasa- Malindi Road and boost tourism and trade.
Deputy President William Ruto said the government was committed to improving infrastructure to hasten economic growth.
“We already have plans with ADB (African Development Bank) and from December this year we will start by building a dual carriage way to ease congestion that has slowed movement and affected transport along the major highway,” he said
According to the DP, the carriage way will start from Nyali, then run through Shanzu, Mtwapa, Kanamai to Kwa Kazengo.
The DP also announced that the government will rehabilitate Junda-Ngomeni Road and another one connecting Mwakirunge dumpsite to Lights as part of its plans to improve infrastructure.
“We have decided to redesign the road and rebuild it so that we can ease transport,” he said.
Speaking in Mombasa on Saturday, the DP also announced that the government had awarded a contract for the construction of Mwache-Dongo Kundu road that will connect to Kibundani-Likoni. The work is to start within a month, he said.
Reports from Kenya National Highways Authority indicate that the building of Northern bypass routes in Mombasa will start soon.
The 38 kilometre infrastructure include the 13km Bamburi Link Road that will connect it to the bypass at Kinunguna interchange. It will link at Bamburi at national trunk road to Mtwapa. It will provide an alternative route from Mtwapa to Miritini.
The Bamburi Link road will be a dual carriage way. There will also be an interchange at Bonje with a roundabout overpass.
The planned Miritini Bridge will also ensure efficient traffic circulation.