Container traffic through Mombasa’s port grew by 12.8% in the first six months of the year after new cargo handling infrastructure was built to shorten the turnaround time for ships.
Gichiri Ndua, the port’s MD, said the total cargo at the port rose by 12.8% to 11.9-million tonnes in January to June last year.
Container traffic increased by 11.5% to 463 920 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) this year from 415 948 TEUs.
The port serves as a measure for economic activity in east Africa as it handles imports for Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia, and exports of tea and coffee from the region.
The volume of goods destined for neighbouring countries also increased, rising by 9.6% to 3.53-million tonnes after the opening of a new berth at the port in August last year, with Uganda and Rwanda bringing in more imports.
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.