, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 11 – The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has signed a Sh24 billion loan agreement with the Kenya Ports Authority for the second phase of the Mombasa port development.
The project will see construction of a new container terminal and provide cargo-handling equipment at the Port of Mombasa, the largest commercial port in East Africa.
This Official Development Assistance (ODA) loan is the largest financial support since JICA commenced cooperation with Kenya in 1963.
The project is a response to the increasing demand for cargo volume as container traffic has been on the rise recently with the volume handled at the port tripling over the past decade from 300,000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) in 2002 to 1 million TEUs in 2014.
It is predicted that the demand will continue increasing, with a projection of more than 2.6 million TEUs in 2025.
The majority of the cargo handled at the port is imported goods, such as fuel, iron and steel products, fertilizer, food and Japanese used cars from Japan and other countries.
The government is currently moving forward with preparations to have the private sector manage the new terminal for an efficient operation that can meet the rapidly rising container demand.
This will be the first time a private firm is allowed to handle the operations of a port terminal in Kenya.
The project will also provide infrastructure for the gateway port to the East African countries, linked by the Northern Corridor.
The Northern Corridor is the transport passageway linking the land-locked countries of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi with Kenya’s maritime port of Mombasa. Similarly, the Northern Corridor serves the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Southern Sudan and Northern Tanzania.
JICA is supporting work to formulate master plans for Mombasa City and the Northern Corridor.
JICA is also currently implementing technical support for road infrastructure around the port and to strengthen the border customs functions through the Mombasa Port Area Road Development Project supported by a Japanese ODA loan signed in June 2012.