(Fixes dateline, reporting credit)
MOMBASA, Kenya, Nov 12 (Reuters) - Kenya’s main port of Mombasa handled 9% more cargo in the first nine months of this year compared with the same period in 2018, due to greater handling capacity and more cargo headed to its neighbouring countries, its operator said.
Mombasa, a gateway to east and central Africa, handles imports and exports for Kenya and other countries including Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Burundi.
The port handled 25.45 million tonnes of cargo between January and September compared to 23.36 million tonnes registered during a similar period in 2018, an increase of 2.09 million tons.
Container traffic increased by 10.7% to 1.06 million Twenty feet equivalent units (TEUS) over the nine-month period while cargo destined for other countries was up 136.8% to 1.87 million tons from 791,257 tonnes realised during a similar period in 2018.
Mombasa port was expanded in 2012 in work that included construction of a new container terminal and dredging to allow bigger vessels access to the port.
The first phase of the expansion project partially-financed by Japan was inaugurated in 2016.
This new container terminal alone “handled 381,288 TEUs in the period January – September 2018/2019, which is equivalent to 36.0 percent of the total container traffic handled in the Port”, Daniel Manduku, the port’s managing director, said in a report seen by Reuters on Tuesday.
Kenya is also building a second port in Lamu, north of Mombasa, with a capacity of 23 million tonnes per year. (Reporting by Joseph Akwiri; Editing by George Obulutsa and Ed Osmond)