KPA boss rubbishes port tender claims

Kenya Ports Authority managing director Catherine Mturi. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Kenya Ports Authority managing director Catherine Mturi. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) managing director, Catherine Mturi-Wairi, has dismissed claims that a Dubai-based firm has been awarded the tender to run phase one of the port’s second container terminal.

Ms Mturi-Wairi said the claim by Simon Sang of the Dock Workers Union that KPA had inked a deal with DP World were false.

“We cancelled the tender and have not yet awarded it to anyone. KPA is running the terminal as for now and I am not even aware of plans to re-advertise the tender anytime soon,” she said in a telephone interview today.

While addressing members of the Mbaraki Sports Club, Mr Sang had last Sunday said that the tender has been awarded to the company.

DP World, owned by the UAE government, was in pole position to bag the deal before the process was aborted after complaints from rival firms.

The companies claimed that some bidders were colluding with senior KPA officials in a bid to secure the contract.

The process was then cancelled and the search for a new ports operator renewed.

Funding conditions

One of the conditions for funding of the Sh27 billion three-phase terminal by the Japanese government was that it would be operated privately.

While the first phase with a capacity of 450,000 teus (twenty-foot equivalent unit) was completed and handed over to KPA in March last year and later commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta, phase two and three will be completed by 2020.

The project will add 1.2 million teus to the existing 1.5 million capacity at the port.

Yesterday, Mr Sang seemed to backtrack on his claim, saying he had spoken about privatisation of the port from the perspective of cargo handling capacity of the second terminal.

“After privatisation, all cargo will be directed to that terminal rendering employees at the existing facility irrelevant. That is our concern as a union because our members will not have a job to do,” he said on phone.

There are over 6,000 workers at KPA who are members of the union.

Some of the top firms that had been tipped to take up the lucrative tender include Hutchison Ports Investments based in Hong Kong, DP World and PSA International from Singapore.

Others were China Merchants Holdings and SSA Port Terminal, all listed in the top 10 world terminal operators.