The Port of Mombasa is the main gateway to the Eastern African region, serving a wide and rapidly growing hinterland consisting of Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Northern Tanzania, Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia and Somalia. The Port serves a region with a population of over 250 million people. With direct connectivity to over 80 seaports worldwide and 33 shipping lines calling at the Port, it plays a vital role in import and export transport. The efficiency of the Port has a major impact on the economies of the countries it serves and can unlock the region’s growth potential if operated efficiently and developed in step with growing trade demands. The Port of Mombasa has over the last five years recorded significant growth in traffic volumes1. Overall, the Port recorded 27.4 million tons of cargo in 2016 from 21.9 million tons handled in 2012, representing an average annual growth rate of 5.7%. Container traffic also increased from 894,000 TEU in 2012 to 1.1 million TEU in 2016, an average annual growth rate of 4.8%. The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has been implementing various projects to boost service levels at the Port, mainly focused on infrastructure development. With the dredging of the Port in 2012 and expansion of handling capacity, vessels calling at the Port have also increased in size.
During Strategy 1 from 2010 to 2017, TMEA supported KPA to undertake a number of projects aimed at improving the operational efficiency and capacity of the Port of Mombasa. The programme has grown in size, with the sequential approval of three separate TMEA funding packages: the original programme of $53 million2, an additional $5 million to supplement TMEA’s support to Port Reitz Road, and $36 million for Mombasa Resilient Infrastructure Programme. Overall, TMEA has used an integrated approach, with investment in hard and soft infrastructure to increase capacity and efficiency. The broad areas of TMEA support have included infrastructure (improvement of gates and yards, expansion of port access roads, berth upgrading), financial assistance in securing works, legal and regulatory revision, productivity improvements, equipment upgrades, port reform dialogue initiative through the Mombasa Port Community Charter, and environmental initiatives. The primary goal has been to help reduce the time to move and clear goods through Mombasa Port. This goal has been met, with port throughput time for imports falling from 11 days in 2010 to 4.8 days in 2016, and for exports from 15 days to less than five days over the same period. Contributing factors include reduced container dwell time; increased ship productivity; reduced ship turnaround time; and reduced truck turnaround time.
TMEA is well positioned to support stakeholders to enhance Port Productivity. The planned set of interventions fall within TMEA’s core mandate, to reduce the cost of trade. In the past TMEA has worked with the Ports Authority and various agencies. In addition to the support to KPA, TMEA is working with other key players in the sector, such as Kenya Revenue Authority and other regional revenue authorities to catalyse and facilitate improvement in the overall trade facilitation environment across East Africa. This has led to overall reduction in cargo clearance time and associated trade costs.