MOMBASA, Kenya, October 22 – The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has pledged to continue supporting the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) in upgrading port infrastructure to accelerate the growth of regional economies in ‘East Africa.
JICA has been a close partner of KPA, having financed the construction of the second 32 billion shillings container terminal in the Port of Mombasa.
The Port of Mombasa’s second container terminal, which spans 100 acres in Kilindini Port, is expected to ease congestion in the busy port.
The port of Mombasa is the main gateway to the East African region, serving a large and rapidly growing hinterland consisting of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Sudan southern, northern Tanzania, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Somalia.
Acting KPA General Manager John Mwangemi said JICA recently completed construction of Phase 2 of the terminal, which increased the port’s capacity from 450,000 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) to 2.1 million. of TEUs currently.
Mwangemi said KPA will partner with JICA in its efforts to modernize and renovate maritime port infrastructure, noting that port infrastructure is essential for connectivity and economic growth.
He says KPA is banking on upgrading infrastructure in a bid to make the first port more useful for large container ships and to cope with increased traffic.
He KPA MD says that the authority is keen to develop the existing port infrastructure in the country.
Mwangemi says JICA is also playing a key role in the planned development of Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zones in Mombasa County.
The 39 billion shillings Dongo Kundu Special Economic Zones are expected to make Mombasa a regional logistics and manufacturing hub.
The special economic zone located on a 3,000 acre plot of land near the port of Mombasa will include an export processing zone (EPZ), industrial parks, free trade zones, as well as other ancillary services such as tourism, meetings, conferences and exhibitions.
The KPA Director General disclosed this when he received Katsuo Matsumoto, Director General (DG) of JICA’s Infrastructure Engineering Department and Mari Kato, Senior Representative of JICA Kenya Office, in his office.
Mwangemi said KPA is already carrying out a feasibility study for the development of phase three of the second container terminal at the port of Mombasa.
Matsumoto said that JICA and KPA have a long-standing friendship with the development of the first phase of the Mombasa Port Development Project, which was completed in February 2016, while the second phase of the project was completed. completed in May 2022.
“An increase in port capacity means increasing trade and thereby preparing Kenya for any financial shocks by positioning it for a competitive advantage in the world that has become a global village,” he said.
Later, Matsumoto, accompanied by Director of Development (dg) Eng of Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA). Charles Obuon and Deputy Director of Special Projects Eng. Samuel Ogege visited several road project sites to monitor progress such as the Mombasa Port Area Road Development (MPARD) project which comprises three lots.
Lot I of the Miritini project in Kipevu was completed in May 2018. Lot II of the Mwache project in Mteza (Dongo Kundu) is on track for completion in March 2024 while Lot III of Mteza in Kibundani is in phase final and will end in July 2023.
“The road projects are intended to provide infrastructure to transport goods to and from Mombasa Port quickly, efficiently and cost effectively and ensure efficient evacuation of goods to and from the hinterland,” he said. declared.
The senior JICA official added that “the massive investments in port and road infrastructure will improve livelihoods and transform economies in addition to increasing the country’s trade competitiveness in the East and Central Africa region.”
Eng. Obuon said once the three MPARD packages are completed, travel time and vehicle operating costs in Mombasa and Kwale counties will be significantly reduced and the move will catalyze industrial development.
Meanwhile, the KPA MD revealed that the port of Mombasa is expected to handle a total throughput of 35 million metric tons of cargo in 2022.
He says a marginal increase has been recorded in total freight throughput, container traffic, transhipment and transit traffic.
Mwangemi says container traffic recorded an increase of 4.4% to record 361,324 TEUs from 346,135 TEUs recorded last year.
He said last year Mombasa Port handled a total throughput of 34.55 million metric tons, registering a growth of 1.3 percent from 34.12 million metric tons in 2020.
“In container traffic, the port handled 1.43 million TEUs, which represents a robust growth of 5.6% compared to the performance of 2020, when 1.35 million TEUs were handled”, did he declare.
At the same time, he revealed that the Democratic Republic of Congo is now the third largest market for the port of Mombasa after Uganda and South Sudan with a market share of 8.2%.
With the formal admission of the DRC into the East African Community, more private and public organizations from the Central African country are setting up businesses in the country.
To consolidate their position, Lignes Maritimes Congolaises – the DRC government-owned shipping company began operations in Mombasa in June this year, becoming the latest entrant to Mombasa.