Rwanda’s business community should take advantage of the recently installed modern infrastructure at Mombasa port to increase trade,
Catherine Mturi-Wairi, the Kenya Ports Authority managing director, has said.
Mturi-Wairi said the authority is committed to facilitating regional trade through provision of efficient and convenient services, adding that they look to raise and sustain the port performance to world class standards.
“We are working on a plan that will further reduce unnecessary delays at the port. Already, we have expanded yards and berths to handle more cargo, revamped the ICT system for faster document processing, and modernised cargo handling equipment.
“We have also installed a new integrated security system to control pilferage, dredged the port channel and widened its turning basin, enabling the port to attract and accommodate larger vessels,” she said on Monday during a stakeholders meeting in Kenya.
The port recently invested more than $1 billion to expand facilities to boost its capacity to handle more cargo and attract larger carriers.
“The modernisation and expansion programmes have multiplied the port’s capacity to handle larger ships and turn-around more cargo. This will also help reduce the cost and transit time,” the official told The New Times.
The port handled a total of 22,756,448 tonnes of cargo for the period January to September compared with 20,566,156 tonnes registered in the corresponding period in 2016, reflecting an increase of 2,190,293 tonnes or 10.6 per cent.
The cargo handled between January and September was equivalent to 202,661 Twenty Feet Equivalent Units (TEUs). Cargo destined for Rwanda increased to 8,265 tonnes over the reporting period.
In an earlier interview with The New Times, John Bosco Rusagara, the chairman of Rwanda Shippers Association, said local traders are happy about the improvements at Mombasa that have helped decongest the port.
He told The New Times that Rwanda’s business community should take advantage of both the Central and Northern corridors to conduct import or export trade competitively.
Fred Seka, the chairman of the Freight Forwarders Association said they are currently working with the port officials and KRA to ensure smooth container shipping at Mombasa.
The port’s Rwanda representative, Cynthia Kamau, said the office is currently working with shippers to ensure efficiency and lower the cost of shipping.
Kamau urged local importers and exporters to take advantage of continued port automation and effective interface with the national single window system and single customs territory to reduce cost of doing business in the region.
She added that the standard gauge railway line will further reduce the cost and also help ease cargo handling.