MOMBASA (HAN) September 19.2016. Public Diplomacy & Regional Security News. Cargo traffic through Kenya’s biggest port, Mombasa, increased by 1.4 percent in the first half of this year compared with the same period last year, the port’s managing director said on Monday.
The Indian Ocean port serves as the main trade gateway for East Africa, handling fuel and consumer goods imports as well as exports of tea and coffee from landlocked nations like Uganda.
Managing Director Catherine Mturi said cargo volume rose to 13.4 million tonnes from 13.2 million handled a year earlier.
Total volume rose despite container traffic falling by 0.6 percent to 527,523 TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units) thanks to an increase in loose cargo not shipped by container such as grains and railway steel bars.
“This is below the expected global average growth rate of four percent per annum, but with the expansion and improved efficiency currently, we should do much better by end of the year and beyond,” Mturi said in the statement.
Early this month Kenya inaugurated the first part of a new container terminal at the port, which is expected to boost capacity by 50 percent.
The port’s management says it has reduced the time it takes to evacuate a container from the port by a day to 4.3 days, and the time it takes to load and offload a ship to three days from 3.7 days previously.
The east African nation plans to build a second port in Lamu, north of Mombasa, with a capacity of 23 million tonnes per year. (Reporting by Joseph Akwiri; editing by Duncan Miriri and Jason Neely)