KPA Acting Managing Director Amb John Mwangemi says the Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced the case for digitization in the shipping industry.
Amb Mwangemi noted that accepting digital copies instead of paper originals, pre-arrival processing, electronic payments and customs automation all help speed up international trade.
He was speaking during the second edition of the East Africa Maritime Awards (EAMA 2020) ceremony at Serena Beach resort and spa taking place under the theme “Innovation, competitiveness and sustainability’ encouraging the use of technology to enhance efficiency in service delivery.
“At the Port of Mombasa, we, from the onset of the pandemic, adjusted our conventional business processes and embraced ICT solutions which included online cargo clearance processes and payments for port charges thus reducing physical interpersonal contact and paper handling,” Mwangemi said.
“In the wake of such unprecedented times, the need therefore for all of us in the region to work closely for seamless cross border trade cannot be gainsaid.
Our appeal to the EAC member states is to consider adapting systems that will streamline movement of cargo and people to facilitate trade effectively,” Amb Mwangemi said.
The Port of Mombasa, like most ports, recorded a decline in cargo volumes in the year 2020. During the period covering January to December 2020, the total cargo throughput recorded was 34.12 million tons against 34.44 million tons in 2019, representing a marginal decline of 0.9 percent.
Container traffic declined by 4 percent registering 1.360 million TEUs in 2020 compared to 1.42 million TEUs achieved in 2019. Further, the disruption of supply chains also resulted in a drop of Transshipment traffic by 16.9 percent.
During the period January – August 2021, a total of 23.9 million tons of cargo was recorded against 22.1 million tons handled in the corresponding period in 2020. This signified an increase of 1.79 million tons or 8.1 percent.
“Despite the slight setback, we have continued to undertake capacity expansion programmes ahead of demand, besides constant engagement with our distinguished stakeholders for mutual growth,” he said.
He identified the construction of phase 2 of the Second Container Terminal whose completion is at 88 percent and will bring onboard an additional capacity of 450,000 TEUs once ready by the end of 2021. This will increase our port capacity to 2.1million TEUs per annum.
The MD said construction of Kipevu road, which is a partnership between KPA and Trademark Africa, is ready and only waiting to be linked with the Mombasa-Nairobi Highway once the latter is complete.
The project entailed expansion of Kipevu Road from Gate 18 to Changamwe Roundabout into six lanes with provision for pedestrian walkways. The road will ease congestion at the Port by reducing truck turnaround time.
Expansion of gate 18/20 by adding two additional lanes and canopy, and construction of gate 24 with six lanes has improved cargo evacuation due to quick truck turnaround time.
Construction of a new and bigger Kipevu Oil Terminal, which is at 93.5 percent completion, will have four berths capable of handling import and export of five different hydrocarbon products: crude oil, heavy fuel oil, LPG and three types of white oil products.
This development will increase fuel handling capacity, reduce vessel waiting time and enhance efficiency. The Terminal is scheduled to be ready by the end of the year.
Operationalization of the first berth of the Port of Lamu has so resulted in the Port receiving 7 new ship calls with transshipment cargo, the latest being yesterday’s Mv. Seago Istanbul which discharged 498 TEUs.
He said this weekend they expect the 8th caller to load the consignment for onward delivery to Zanzibar. The other two berths are expected to be completed by the end of this year.
Refurbishment of the port of Kisumu is another major stride Kenya has made. Trade has picked up with more cargo ships calling the Port to deliver cargo to Port Bell in Uganda and Mwanza in Tanzania. This development is in line with the government’s agenda to grow the blue economy.
There are plans to construct Shimoni port in South Coast, which will entail development of an industrial fish port with a capacity of 50,000 metric tons through Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement. This project is expected to enhance food security and stimulate economic growth.
Equally important, the government is in the process of developing a truck marshalling yard at the Nairobi ICD and Mombasa in partnership with private investors. The yards will provide an innovative truck booking/appointment and temporary parking lots for the trucks to improve turnaround time and cargo dwell time