Kenya’s Mom­basa Port Set for Up­grade

THISDAY - - BUSINESS WORLD -

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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