Cargo traffic through Kenya’s biggest port grew by 10.1 percent in the first nine months of the year after expansion and installation of new cargo-handling facilities, its head said on Monday. The Indian Ocean port of Mombasa, the biggest in east Africa and the region’s trade gateway, handles fuel and consumer goods imports as well as exports of tea and coffee from landlocked neighbours such as Uganda and South Sudan.
Gichiri Ndua, the port’s managing director, said total cargo volume rose to 19.87 million tonnes between January and September, from 18.05 million tonnes handled in a similar period last year. Container traffic increased by 10.8 percent to 809,984 TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units) during this period from 731,300 TEUs last year.
The volume of goods destined for neighbouring countries also increased, rising by 10.8 percent to 5.83 million tonnes, from 5.26 million tonnes last year. “We expect to hit 26.5 million tonnes by end of this year,” Ndua said. That would represent a 6 percent total annual growth. The port handled 24.9 million tonnes of cargo in 2014. Kenya is building a $300 million second container terminal at Mombasa to handle increased trade within the region, driven by a sharp growth in construction, vast infrastructure development and an emerging middle class.
The east African nation also plans a second port in Lamu, north of Mombasa, with a capacity of 23 million tonnes per year.