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Kenya port records traffic growth

NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 9 – The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has announced a 5.2 percent growth in container traffic at the Port of Mombasa.

Container traffic grew from 585,367 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in 2007 to 615,733 TEUs in 2008. The growth was, however, slower than the 22 percent expansion the port saw in 2007 when it handled 585,367 TEU.

“The slowdown in growth of container traffic was a result of a sluggish economic performance occasioned by the post-election skirmishes experienced early in the year and the current global economic downturn,” a statement from KPA indicated.

Port throughput grew from 15.96 million tons in 2007 to 16.41 million for the year with the growth largely attributed to efficiency gains arising from the modernization of equipment and business process re-engineering.

Transit traffic registered growth of 10.2 percent from 4.4 million tons in 2007 to 4.87 million tons in 2008.

Meanwhile individual transit countries increased their usage of the port of Mombasa with Uganda maintaining her lead with a 75.9 percent of the transit market share.

“The port handled 3.7 million tons of Ugandan cargo in 2008 up from 3.4 million tons handled in 2007 which represented a growth of 8.9 percent,” the KPA statement read in part

The Democratic Republic of Congo came second registering a 18.4 percent growth from 257,000 tons in 2007 to 304,400 tons in 2008.

However, in the non-container sector, the negative economic impact was also felt with liquid bulk trade decreasing slightly by 0.2 percent from 5.64 million tons in 2007 to 5.63 million tons in 2008.

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Trans-shipment traffic equally took a slight drop of 1.6 percent as a result of the post-election disruptions early in the year that led to unprecedented congestion necessitating a temporary freeze in handling transshipment.

Moderate growth rates were recorded in dry bulk and conventional cargo, with the Asian continent accounting for the largest growth in trade volume.

 The statement further indicated that KPA had awarded Japan Port Consultants a project design and supervision contract for a second container terminal with a 1.2 million TEU capacity.

KPA also plans to seek tenders for dredging the port channel by up to 15 meters draft and to widen the turning basins.

"This, upon completion, will accommodate the new generation of bigger vessels and increase the port\’s competitiveness, in light of the dynamic global shipping trends," it said.

Another project for a Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) import terminal to handle about 600,000 tones of the gas is still under design and awaiting environmental regulatory approval.

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