, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 20 – The British government has announced a Sh4.5 billion funding for the modernisation of the port of Mombasa to improve efficiency.
Speaking at the port of Mombasa, British High Commissioner to Kenya Christian Turner said the funds will be used for the improvement of road and rail linkages and terminals within the port to ease congestion of cargo.
“The benefit of the port will not be achieved unless the inefficiency is addressed to meet the growing demand of cargo handling that is predicted to rise by 400 percent by 2030. We must change how we operate at the port,” said Turner.
He said that the investment will lead to an improvement of transit time for cargo and benefit the economy by Sh100 billion once complete.
“It’s a very significant commitment from the UK government through the Department for International Development (DfID) and our partners Trademark East Africa(TMEA) to improve efficiency at the port of Mombasa that serves not only Kenya but the entire East Africa region,” said Turner.
The project includes the widening of gate 18, construction of dual carriage to improve exit and evacuation of cargo at the port. The funding will also be used for designing and modernising berth 1 to 18 by deepening and strengthening the old berths within a period of four years.
Already tenders for the five projects have been advertised with the work supposed to commence by next month and the funds will be channeled through their partners TMEA.
Turner said widening of entry points will also assist in tackling with the drug menace, ivory and contraband at the port.
“Enhancing security at the port is key by ensuring proper scanning of containers to deal with smuggling of drugs and other illegal goods from getting into the country,” said Turner.
This comes as President Uhuru Kenyatta directed Cabinet Secretaries dealing with the Northern Corridor to reduce the movement of transit goods from the Port of Mombasa to Malaba to a maximum of five days.
Speaking in a Cabinet meeting at State House on Thursday, Kenyatta said the current situation where a container takes an average of 18 days to reach Kampala from Mombasa was untenable.
He said that he will hold a meeting with all those involved in the running of the port in three weeks time to confirm that the target has been achieved.
He ordered the formation of a Cabinet sub-committee that will include all Cabinet Secretaries dealing with the Northern Corridor. He said that the committee will report to him during every Cabinet meeting on what they are doing to improve efficiency.
Kenyatta has also ordered the Commissioner of Customs to relocate to Mombasa and directed the clearing process at the port to be digitised in order to enhance efficiency at the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).
He said the government will prioritise the construction of a dual carriageway from Changamwe to Jomvu to ease congestion.