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Kenya's Mombasa port shows growth, increased efficiencyThursday, August 20, 2015 > 08:53:46
Shipping activity at Kenya's port of Mombasa, East Africa's biggest, rose by 11 percent in the first half of 2015 as vessel wait times fell, the national port authority said on Wednesday.
Gichiri Ndua, Kenya Ports Authority managing director, said the performance reflected progress in the integration of east African countries to ease the flow of trade.
The port, a major trade gateway to east Africa, handles imports such as fuel for Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Kenya, which faces increasing competition from other countries like Tanzania and Djibouti in the bid to serve land-locked and rapidly-growing neighbours, said increasing port efficiency is central to its infrastructure plan.
Kenya has begun construction of a Chinese-funded rail line, which will connect Mombasa to the Ugandan capital Kampala, speeding the flow of goods and taking pressure off its congested road network.
In the first half of this year, the port handled 13.21 million tonnes of goods, 1.3 million tonnes more than in the same period a year ago, Ndua said.
Last year, it handled 24.9 million tonnes of cargo - the highest volume in the port's history and an 11.5 percent increase from 2013, he said.
Between 2013 and 2014, the so-called dwell time of cargo ships dropped by a day, to 3.9 days. Average turnaround time remained the same - 3.5 days - from 2013 to 2014, despite the increased activity at the port, he said.
Inefficiency at the port, including long wait times to unload cargo, has long been seen as a major stumbling block to increasing growth.