MOMBASA, June 17 (Reuters) - Kenya’s main port of Mombasa handled 6.3% more cargo in the last eleven months thanks to higher efficiency, a surge in imports and greater capacity after the port was expanded, the facility’s management said on Monday.
The rise in cargoes came despite uncertainty after 75 tax agency staff including customs workers were arrested last month over allegations of fraudulent clearance of merchandise among other charges.
Mombasa, a gateway to east and central Africa, processes imports and exports for Kenya and several other countries including Uganda, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Burundi. Cargo handled by the port was up 6.3% to 29.8 million tonnes in the eleven months ending May this year compared to the previous period, data released by the port’s management showed.
“The positive performance was mainly driven by increased handling (of) cargo for Uganda, D.R.C and South Sudan,” Daniel Manduku, the port’s managing director, said in a report.
Container traffic increased by 13.1% to 1.27 million Twenty feet equivalent units (TEUS) over the eleven-month period while cargo destined for other countries was up 10%.
Mombasa port underwent expansion works in 2012 that included construction of a new container terminal and dredging to enable bigger vessels access to the port. The first phase of the expansion project partially-financed by Japan was inaugurated in 2016.
Kenya is also building a second port in Lamu, north of Mombasa, with a capacity of 23 million tonnes per year. (Editing by Elias Biryabarema, editing by Deepa Babingon)