African countries urged to diversify ports so as to ensure growth

The port of Mombasa. Two people have been charged over the theft of containers at the port /FILE

Mombasa,KENYA: African governments have been urged to work together to ensure growth in the port and maritime sector in the continent.

Speaking during the Africa Ports expansion conference in Mombasa on Monday, Tessa Major, a delegate who is representing the port of Antwerp in Belgium, said that the only way countries could ensure growth in the port sector was by working together to supplement each other rather than competing against each other.

“When I look at majority of the expansion projects in African ports, most of them are similar.’’ Tessa said.

“When were were expanding our Port in Antwerp, our biggest competitor was the port of Rotterdam in Netherlands but we realized the Port of Rotterdam deals more in liquid cargo.” She added.

The Port of Antwerp is the second largest port in Europe after the Rotterdam port in the Netherlands which handles approximately 200 million tonnes of cargo in an year.

Her remarks comes just as the race for construction of the largest port in East Africa begins with Tanzania expected to begin construction of the Bangamoyo port and Kenya beginning the construction of the first 3 berths of the Lamu port; which is expected to ease cargo delays at the port of Mombasa.

The Africa Ports expansion conference kicked off on Monday with over 50 delegates from countries like Belgium, South Africa , India and Tanzania attending and is expected to end on Tuesday.