26 November 2012

Kenya: EAC Ports Key to Economic Growth - Official

PORTS serving the East African Community need to be run efficiently to boost the regions economic growth, a top Kenya Ports Authority official has said .

KPA's operations general manager Captain Twalib Khamis said the ports of Mombasa, Lamu and Dar es Salaam should complement each other.

"It is not good for Mombasa to have an efficient port while the Port of Dar es Salaam is not. This situation might erode all the gains made by Mombasa port to become efficient," said Khamis.

He said almost all vessels coming to the region call on all the ports in the region. He said it will be pointless for a ship to be cleared in a day at the port of Mombasa only to be made to wait for two weeks to be cleared in another port in the region.

Captain Khamis said the Lamu port will complement services offered by the Mombasa port, contrary to fear by section of coast residents and some maritime industry players that the Lamu port will 'kill' the Mombasa port.

He said the Likoni channel is narrow just after the crossing channel and can only handle small vessels. The Lamu port has a much wider channel and is deeper thus will handle the vessels that cannot be handled at the Mombasa port even after the recent dredging that increased its capacity to handle larger vessels.

Speaking during a regional media workshop on port operations and dynamics in Mombasa, Khamis said the Mombasa port is being choked as the city is growing around it.

"Luckily, the port has a lot of room for expansion to address the challenges of size and consequently, the capacity to handle cargo," he said. Construction of a second container terminal on a 3,000-acre piece of reclaimed land is set to start soon..

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