The Kenyan Port Authority (KPA) says it will begin work on the extension of the Mombasa Container Terminal in April. Bernard Osoro, the head of corporate affairs at KPA told reporters in March that the authority will commission phase two of the second container terminal (CT2) at Mombasa harbour this month (April). The upgrade will add container-handling capacity of 450,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) a year to Mombasa Port, and so boost its total handling capacity to over 2 million TEU a year. It will have three berths of 230, 320 and 350 metres respectively. The largest berth will be able to accommodate vessels with capacities of up to 60,000 deadweight tonnage. Once the third phase (work on which is scheduled to being next year) is complete, the port will be able to move 2.5 million TEUs a year.
The terminal integrates with the standard-gauge railway (SGR) that runs to Nairobi and from there to Naivasha. The next extension will connect Naivasha to Malaba, on the Ugandan border, allowing rail transport of containers from Mombasa to Ugandan territory.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has provided a 40-year US$280m concessionary loan to Kenya for the construction of the terminal. It is being constructed by the Toyo Construction Company of Japan. One of the conditions that JCIA put on funding the asset was that its operation be entrusted to a private operator. That operator will be the Kenya National Shipping Line (KNSL) – a joint venture between the KPA and Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) of Switzerland.
The KPA wants to solidify Mombasa’s status as the premier port in East Africa - a position for which it appears to have stolen the march over neighbouring Dar es Salaam. In the first months of 2022 there were reports that major shipping lines – MSC, CMA-CGM and Maersk – were diverting vessels to Mombasa because of delays at Dar es Salaam.
JICA is supporting the modernisation of the logistics in East Africa through soft-loans as well as technical assistance. Its focus is the so-called Northern Corridor transport system which links Mombasa to Uganda and Rwanda. Japan is also financing the one-stop border post at Namanga on the Tanzanian side of the border. The facility has significantly shortened the waiting times for trucks to cross the border between Kenya and Tanzania. More such facilities are planned on Kenya’s borders with Ethiopia, Zambia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). In April 2022, JICA signed an agreement with the Tanzanian government to support the improvement of the transport and urban planning in Dar es Salaam.
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