The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) projects to increase transshipment cargo this year after Lamu port received fourth ship within two months. This as Port of Mombasa surpasses the forecasted target by 0.5 percent of cargo throughput in the first six months of the year.
The Mombasa port handled 18.333 million tonnes in cargo throughput in January to June 2021, against 16.394 million tonnes registered in the corresponding period in 2020, representing a notable growth of 11.8 percent.
During the same period, total containers registered a 15.3 percent increase to record 754,148 Teus in 2021 up from 654,054 Teus registered in a similar period in 2020.
Transshipment traffic also grew by a remarkable 55.9 percent to record 125,141 Teus compared to 80,278 Teus in 2020. However, during the period under review, there was a decline in terms of transit traffic, which dropped by 5.4 percent, having registered 4.73 million tonnes in 2021 against 5 million tonnes in 2020.
The negative performance is attributed to the decreased handling of cargo for Uganda and Rwanda by 208,811 tonnes or 5.5 percent and 119,702 tonnes or 57.4 percent, respectively.
For Uganda, this was attributed to the general elections held in the country, resurgence of Covid-19 in the region and the resultant economic lockdowns in both Uganda and Rwanda.
More ships continue to make maiden call at Lamu Port after CMA CGM vessel MV Spirit of Dubai docked at the facility on Monday afternoon bringing the number of ships calling at the facility in the past two months since it was open for business to four.
The vessel docked at the facility to collect consignment including 41 fourty-foot containers and 21 twenty-foot containers equivalent to 103 Teus which was delivered by AMU1, a Kenyan owned ship from Tanzania.
MV Spirit is the fourth vessel after AMU1 which docked at the port on July 15, about two months after President Uhuru Kenyatta officially opened the port where two Maersk vessels MV CAP Carmel and MV Seago Bremerhaven docked for the first time at the port.
KPA Managing Director John Mwangemi said the arrival of the four vessels from two major shipping lines show the confidence shipping lines have with the Lamu port.
“The dream of spearheading transshipment business has now become a reality at this port and with the arrival of MV Spirit of Dubai in less than a week’s time after AMU 1, its presence will surely inspire confidence and help raise the profile of the Port of Lamu on the global map,” said Mr Mwangemi.
“We are privileged to have the Port of Lamu as a second commercial port to complement the Port of Mombasa primarily targeting transshipment business in the region. This port is strategically located at the middle of major shipping routes with the deep-water harbour on the East Coast of Africa, thus in no doubt a premier transshipment hub for all cargo destined for the continent.”
The acting MD assured importers and exporters their commitment of efficient and timely services at their port facilities, with continuous improvements to meet and even exceed their expectations.
Speaking in Lamu while receiving the fourth vessel, Mr Mwangemi said the arrival of MV Spirit of Dubai, will attract other shipping lines to consider Lamu as a preferred port of call.
He said KPA has installed relevant cargo handling machines to handle any kind of vessels including panamax and post-panamax vessels with a capacity of over 10,000 Teus.
“We have installed yard operations equipment, with two Harbour Mobile Cranes, ICT infrastructure and we also have deployed multi-skilled staff to ensure smooth operations. We also are committed to bringing in Ship to Shore Gantry cranes in order to fully kit these 3 berths and I therefore call upon other shipping lines to introduce services to the Port of Lamu,” he said.
CMA CGM, the third largest shipping container after Maersk Line and Mediterranean Shipping Company ply 257 shipping routes between 420 ports in 160 different countries and in 2020, the company handled a total of 171,311 Teus in and out of the Port of Mombasa up from 120,810 Teus handled in 2019.
This represents 12.6 percent of the total volume handled by the port in 2020 and accounted for the third highest volume by shipping lines last year, up from fifth position. This is despite the global transport and supply chain disruptions occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic.
CMA CGM Deputy General Manager East Africa cluster Daniel Sepetu expressed satisfaction with the smooth cargo handling operations at the new port. He urged importers and exporters to use the port saying CMA-CGM had “tested and proved it to be ready for business”.
Mr Sepetu was impressed to note that they were able to submit their manifest through ICMs system which he added was a big achievement for the Port of Lamu.
“Exactly two months ago, on 20th May 2021, we were here with President Uhuru Kenyatta and we committed to be the pioneer and now ships are coming here and records are being broken which is a good thing for this port,” he said.