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Indiaexportnews.com

Mombasa box traffic up

  06.02.2013    

The Port of Mombasa, the busiest port in East Africa, has benefited from expansion to increase container traffic by as much as 9.9 per cent, but violent elections expected in March may divert cargo, the Shipping Gazette informs.
Following congestion in 2011 and first quarter 2012, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has improved cargo-handling activity at the port. However, the country's presidential elections in March are cause for concern for its thriving business in imports and exports and container volumes which hit 903,443 TEU, a 17.2 per cent increase year on year.
Imports in 2012 accounted for almost all of the traffic at 85.5 per cent at 18.73 million tons from an overall total of 21.92 million tons. Imports are mainly fuel and consumer goods from landlocked Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda is the dominant destination for goods arriving in Mombasa accounting for 73.1 per cent of total traffic.
Exports, mainly tea and coffee from the region increased by 9.2 per cent to 3.04 million tons.
KPA managing director Gichiri Ndua said some clients are already re-routing through Tanzania's Dares Salaam port to avoid problems during and after such as during the 2008 election when cargo was lost, blamed primarily on looting. Its election in 2007 also created havoc when ethnic violence froze cargo transport in the landlocked east African states.
"We cannot foretell what this year will be like because that depends on many factors especially the elections. If we do it peacefully, then we should expect a further increase of cargo throughout to over 10 per cent by the end of this year," Mr Ndua said, cited a report from Reuters newswire.
KPA plans to construct a second US$300 million container terminal in Mombasa, which will boost the port's capacity by a further 18 million tonnes. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed in 2015 and its new deep-water berth is operational since end-2012.
The port also aims to build a second port north of Mombasa in Lamu that will boast an annual capacity of 23 million tons.


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