By Jite Eriabie
Kenya’s main port, Mombasa, handled 10.6 percent more cargo in the first nine months of this year, helped by an expansion of its handling capacity and a new railway system, the port’s management said on Monday.
Activity in East Africa’s biggest port is considered a measure of economic activity for the region. Mombasa handles imports such as fuel for Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.
The increased traffic comes despite prolonged tensions over an election in August which was nullified and then rerun in October.
Mombasa handled 22.8 million tonnes of cargo between January and September compared with 20.6 million in the same period last year, the port Managing Director, Catherine Mturi, said.
Imports accounted for 19.3 million tonnes, up from 17.4 million in the same 2016 period, an increase of 10.4 percent.
It handled 2.8 million tonnes in exports, up 3.2 percent on the 2.7 million tonnes in the same period last year.
Transit traffic increased by 8.5 percent to 6.5 million tonnes from 5.9 million. Uganda remained the biggest transit market, accounting for 81 percent of all transit cargo.
Last year Kenya commissioned the first phase of a second $300 million container terminal that provides an additional cargo-handling capacity of 550,000 TEUs (20-foot-equivalent units) per year.
Construction of a second phase is scheduled to start early next year and will provide additional capacity of 450,000 TEUs, said Mturi.
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