Kenya’s Mombasa Port Set for Upgrade


Kenya’s port of Mombasa will spend 20 billion shillings ($193 million) to modernise four berths to handle both container cargo and goods not packed in containers, the head of the state port operator said.

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.

The investment is driven by growing demand for imported cargo in the region, where most economies are growing by at least five per cent per year, said Daniel Manduku, the Managing Director of the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).

Exports make up just 15 per cent of the cargo that goes through Mombasa every year, with a third of the total belonging to neighbouri­ng countries, while Kenya, the region’s biggest economy, takes up the lion’s share. Annual cargo traffic through the port is projected to jump to 47 million tonnes in 2025 from 32 million tonnes last year, Reuters quoted Manduku to have said in an interview at the port.

“We are currently undertakin­g major expansion programmes... We are trying to be ahead of the game.”

The volume of cargo handled is expected to rise to 34 million tonnes this year, including 1.4 million 20-foot containers. Popular imports include clinker for cement manufactur­ing, steel, fertiliser and grains.

The European Investment Bank and French developmen­t agency AFD have offered to finance the modernisat­ion of the berths at commercial rates, Manduku said.

“We think it is something we should consider, as opposed to normal commercial bank loans,” he said, adding that work will start in mid-2020.

Mombasa port, ranked Africa’s fifth busiest according to the KPA after Morocco’s Tangier Med, Egypt’s Port Said, South Africa’s Durban and Nigeria’s Lagos, wants to rise to number three, Manduku said, without giving a timeframe.

KPA is spending an additional 39 billion shillings to build a new oil terminal, to replace its existing facility that dates back to 1968.

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