he port of Mombasa has witnessed steady growth in import volumes for both general and containerized cargo following the cessation of the COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns from the major import countries.
The Authority’s projections for February 2021, compared to similar periods in 2020 and 2019 indicated that the Port of Mombasa’s performance will surpass the 2020 and 2019 performance.
The port projected to handle over 115,000 TEUs against 108,000 TEUs handled in 2020 in February, said KPA acting Managing Director, Chief Eng. Rashid Salim in a recent release on the status of the cargo volumes at the port.
For non-containerized cargo, the Port projected to handle over 1 million tons against 800,000 tons handled in 2020 representing an increase of 20 percent. Cargo dwell time reduced from an average of 5.6 days in December 2020 to 4.6 days in January 2021.
The acting MD attributed the improved performance to measures currently being undertaken by KPA, working alongside shipping lines and other Port stakeholders, to streamline operations.
“As at Wednesday 24th February 2021, we had only one container vessel that had arrived the previous day waiting to berth”, and she was scheduled to dock at berth No.16 later in the evening. This timing was within the 24 hours target stipulated in KPA’s Customer Service Charter,” he said.
Recently, KPA took over the loading and unloading SGR operations at Port Reitz Yard and reorganized all railtainer operational processes with logistic partners hence increasing end to end efficiency in the rail evacuation. In January the port registered the highest SGR performance with 241 trains clearing 24,256 Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), the highest in a single month since its inception.
According to the acting MD, evacuation of cargo by rail has significantly contributed to the speedy import container deliveries with a daily average of 1000 TEUs ferried by 10-11 trains from the Port of Mombasa to the Inland Container Depot Nairobi.
He added that this is a remarkable improvement in performance as compared to the period running from mid-December 2020 to early January 2021 when the port experienced vessel builds up leading to cargo backlog.
The takeover of the KRC loading yard by KPA, introduction of double stacking of rail containers and conversion of high sided wagons to carry containers are some of the noble initiatives that undoubtedly will reverse the situation and so are the additions of wagons to support railage.
Meanwhile the number of vessels that have called at the Port of Mombasa between the period January 1st to February 25, 2021 is 252 compared to 248 vessels in a similar period last year.
Chief Eng. Rashid reassured Port users of the Authority’s commitment in provision of efficient Port services and adhere to the 24-hour customer schedule.
He further stressed the need for shipping lines and other stakeholders to continuously engage Management in planning of Port Operations to achieve high productivity and guarantee efficient cargo freight services to importers and exporters.