A Thriving Port
The East African nation of Kenya today maintains a thriving sea port located at Mombasa. Last year, a new terminal significantly enhanced the facility’s commercial capacity. This dynamic center serves as a hub for goods transported to (and from) many nearby nations: Rwanda, Uganda, Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Burundi, northern Tanzania and even far eastern parts of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Important Recent Improvements
Since the Port of Mombasa greatly assists the entire East African economy, government efforts recently have sought to expand this vital asset. In April, 2012, the Kenya Port Authority widened the ship channel to permit the shipping facility to accommodate larger vessels.
The port now handles many large container vessels without problems due in part to the completion of a commercial Berth 19 and the start of further construction on another large container terminal. In a few years, the Port of Mombasa will have significantly expanded and remodeled its quay, enhancing its container vessel service capabilities even further.
Additionally, the Kenya Port Authority plans three other additional ambitious improvements: the development of a modernized cruise terminal facility; the remodeling of older sections of the existing quay, and even the addition of facilities for handling crude oil. These developments hold great importance for the entire region.
In conjunction with the port, a Northern Economic Corridor created jointly by Uganda and Kenya will promote infrastructure development, allowing goods to travel more swiftly from Mombasa to landlocked interior parts of the region. Both Uganda and Kenya presently depend overwhelmingly on roadway transportation: an estimated 95% of cargo travels in these nations by truck. A railway in the new corridor would significantly increase shipping efficiency, while also offering more convenient tourist access.
Promoting Regional Tourism
These facilities promise to attract more visitors to East Africa in the future. In January, 2017, a large cruise ship docked at the port, the MS Nautica, carrying 654 passengers from Zanzibar en route to the Seychelle Islands.
Officials hope work on the terminal facility will reach completion by September when a new wave of cruise passengers will arrive. The completed terminal should increase tourism by some 140,000 visitors annually. Currently ten cruise ships call at Mombasa regularly, but that number will likely increase.
Other Steps to Improve Efficiency
In addition to these changes, Kenyan planning authorities have worked hard to improve efficiency at the Port of Mombasa. Their efforts have already witnessed success.Port workers have begun using updated cargo handling equipment. Additionally, managers hope to continue reducing the time required to process shipments.
In 2015 alone, the Port of Mombasa oversaw the transit of 26.73 million tonnes of goods, an increase of more than 100% since 2005. The facility appears poised to boost the entire regional economy significantly as the new transportation corridor and tourism develop. Mombasa will soon rank as one of the five largest ports in Africa.