Mombasa, KENYA: The port of Mombasa handled 11.4 % more cargo in the first quarter of this year helped by increased efficiency after a successful expansion programme, the port’s management said in a report on Wednesday.
During this period, the port handled 7.2 million tonnes of cargo between January and March against 6.5 million tonnes recorded in a similar period last year.
Imports through the port accounted for 6 million tonnes against 5.5 million tonnes handled in the same period in 2016, representing an increase of 559,745 tonnes, or 10.3%.
Exports recorded 877,778 tonnes, higher than 845,068 tonnes handled in the same period last year, and representing an increase by 32,710 tonnes or 3.9 %.
Cargo destined for other countries also increased from 152,076 tonnes realized in the first quarter in 2016, to 277,303 tonnes in the similar period this year, reflecting a growth of 82.3 percent.
The port of Mombasa, the biggest in East Africa and the region’s trade gateway, is seen as the region’s measure of economic activity, as it handles fuel and consumer goods imports as well as exports of tea and coffee for landlocked neighbours such as Uganda and South Sudan.
Last year, the port commissioned a 30 billion shilling worth of the second container terminal at Mombasa to handle increased trade within the region, which is driven by a sharp growth in construction, vast infrastructure development and an emerging middle class.
Shipments at the port were restrained in 2013 due to concerns over election violence which put off importers, but the polls were peaceful, and port management said on Wednesday they expected a steady cargo growth despite this year’s polls.
“We want to assure importers and exporters that all is well, we shall operate smoothly and we don’t anticipate any problems,” Hajj Masemo, a senior communications officer at the port, told Baraka FM.
The country is also constructing a second port in Lamu with a capacity of 23 million tonnes per year.