Kenya‘s shipping, transport and logistics sectors have been cited as key catalysts that will help boost the economic fortunes of the East African Community (EAC).
With that, the country is positioning itself to reap much from the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) entry into the regional economic bloc.
The accelerated investments in the intermodal transport systems – mainly road, rail and port infrastructure – validate this strategy as Kenya envisions increased trade and commerce across the region.
Kevit Desai, EAC General Secretary, who met with stakeholders from the shipping, manufacturing, transport and logistics sectors at the Port of Mombasa, said efficiency and competitiveness of port facilities are crucial as they are the engine of logistics and supply chain Area.
The Secretary-General expected demand for the region’s services to increase as the EAC’s population surpasses 300 million following DRC’s entry into the trading bloc.
Mr Desai pointed out that with the recent ratification of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (ACfTA) agreement by 44 countries, the ports of Mombasa and Lamu are expected to play an even greater role in connecting the EAC to the rest of the continent .
“We not only want to serve the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which recently joined the EAC, but also connect the Indian Ocean with the Atlantic Ocean through trade,” he said.
The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has invested billions of shillings in the construction and upgrading of infrastructure projects spanning various port facilities.
This, Desai says, has been fueled by increasing demand for shipping services in East and Central Africa and the need to improve service delivery and improve efficiency in port operations, as well as reduce the cost of doing business.
Among the mega projects in development that KPA has prioritized is the recently commissioned second phase of the second container terminal at the Port of Mombasa.
With the completion of the second phase, the Port of Mombasa has added another annual capacity of 450,000 Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units (TEU), bringing the total capacity of the region’s largest port to 2.1 million TEUs per year.
This strengthens its position among the five largest ports in Africa and as a regional hub for sea and shipping.
KPA has also completed the construction of the new Sh40 billion Kipevu Oil Terminal II, which will improve the port’s capacity to handle petroleum products for both the local and regional markets.
The project consists of an offshore island terminal with four berths that are 770 meters long and a working shipyard in the Westmont area for landing facilities.
KPA is also working to streamline the automation of its operational and cargo handling processes to increase port competitiveness.