Rwanda transit cargo at Mombasa port on the rise

Rwanda-bound cargo handled by the Mombasa Port is registering positive growth this year, after dropping by 14 percent last year, a top official at Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has said. Rwanda which accounts for 5 percent of the transit cargo at the port had its exports, in particular, sharply reduced from 16.8 million tons in 2008 to 14.4 million tons in 2009.

Rwanda-bound cargo handled by the Mombasa Port is registering positive growth this year, after dropping by 14 percent last year, a top official at Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has said.

Rwanda which accounts for 5 percent of the transit cargo at the port had its exports, in particular, sharply reduced from 16.8 million tons in 2008 to 14.4 million tons in 2009.
Imports also reduced from 276.6 million tons to 236.0 million tons in the previous year.

In an interview with Business Times on Tuesday, William Mtengo the KPA Resident Representative for transit countries Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi pointed out that cargo had in general significantly improved reflecting the recovery of various economies in the region from the global recession.

“Rwandan cargo had undergone a slight dip and this was attributed to the post-election violence in 2008. However the situation has stablised and we have seen an impressive upsurge of imports into the region, and this should have a positive impact,” he said.

Mtengo also mentioned that KPA is participating in the ongoing international trade fair (EXPO) to facilitate their clients as part of Port’s wider plans to improve the efficiency of its operations.

The Port handles approximately 80 percent of Rwanda’s total imports and exports transported in and out of the country by road.

“I know this is a coffee and tea season for Rwanda. We are here to ensure that we direct as many exports via Mombasa. We would like to ensure that every customer using the Port does it in the shortest possible time using minimum resources,” Mtengo said.

KPA says turnaround time for container ships significantly improved by reducing to three days during much of last year, compared to an average of five days in 2008.
Average container dwelling time at the Port fell to 6.4 days compared to 13.1 days in 2008; an improvement of 51.1 percent or 6.7 days due to the new 24-hour working schedules and opening of more container freight stations.

The total freight handled by the Port rose by over 10 percent from 16.41 million tons in 2008 to 19.06 million tons in 2009.

On an average day, the Mombasa port can accommodate 100 to 200 trucks depending on how many customs documents have been cleared.

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