DOCKWORKERS in Mombasa have repeated that they are opposed to any privatisation of the port. They are misguided. Kenya needs to improve the performance of Mombasa port.
The simplest way to do this would be to give out management to a company like Singapore Ports Authority, as was proposed in the past but rejected.
Dar-es-Salaam has given a concession for a container terminal within the port to Hong Kong company Hutchison Whampoa.
Container clearing is now substantially faster than Mombasa. Uganda is building a new inland port to handle freight from Dar.
Mombasa risks losing its position as the gateway to East Africa. Presidential candidate Musalia Mudavadi said in the Monday presidential debate that he wanted to privatise KPA and KAA to raise funds. He is right.
Handled well, this can be a win-win situation. A more efficient port will mean higher throughout and revenue. More workers can be employed. Economic growth will be boosted as the cost of importing through Mombasa is reduced.
And as Mudavadi pointed out, the government will earn more royalties from the higher volume of cargo. Everyone can get more money out of the port. Mudavadi should be listened to on the Mombasa port privatisation.
Quote of the day: "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." - American abolitionist Frederick Douglas was born on February 14, 1818