MOMBASA, July 7 – Zambia has announced plans to restart exportation of its copper through the port of Mombasa, a process that stalled over 30 years ago.
The South African state wants the business revived as soon as government to government modalities are finalised.
Speaking at the tour of the port on Saturday, Zambia’s Permanent Secretary for Communications and Transport, Eustern Mambwe who is leading a high profile delegation of government and private sector officials from his country said that his delegation was happy with the state of modernisation in Mombasa.
The move follows Zambia’s decision to go into massive mining of the mineral with the main mining pit in the town of Ndola which is expected to produce 20 million metric tonnes between 2009 and 2010 alone.
The PS noted that the cumulative amounts cannot rely on the two ports of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania and Durban in South Africa. Besides, he added, the two ports are currently congested as opposed to Mombasa.
Zambia he noted has targeted copper exports to lead a major push in current economic development.
Acting Kenya Ports Authority managing director, Engineer Joseph Atonga welcomed the return of Zambian copper to the port noting that this would reassert economic ties between the two countries.
He informed the delegation that Mombasa was fast modernising in cargo handling equipment and expanding to create greater capacity. He added that the port has just automated its cargo handling operations to be in tandem with international standards.
According to Zambian trade, Commerce and Industry PS, Davidson Chilipamushi, the country hopes to bring its cargo to Mombasa based on construction of trade corridors and inland “dry” ports which is being developed to link neighbouring countries.
He said Zambian road links with Kenya existed and only need to be reopened.
He said that copper would come on trucks but will be containerised at the dry ports or in Mombasa before shipment.
Hailing the Zambian decision, the secretary general of Port Management Association of Eastern and Southern Africa, PMAESA, Jerome Ntibarekerwa, encouraged the country to use a port where it can get better bargains and low costs.
He said corridor developments are now a major African Union concern because they are seen as vehicles for accelerating intra-country trade.
On his part the secretary general of the Inter-Governmental Standing Committee on Shipping, ISCOS, Archie Mgonda, said Zambia had made a good decision to come to Mombasa.