Cars and Wheat dominate imports at the Port of Mombasa

MOMBASA, Kenya–Bulk wheat imports discharged at the Port of Mombasa recorded 79,501 metric tonnes to emerge the leading non-containerized cargo in the week ended February 21st.

The foodstuff commodity accounted for 49.79 percent of the total 159,642 metric tonnes general cargo handled during the week. A total of 15 vessels were worked at the conventional cargo terminal that handled an average of 22,806 metric tonnes per day with total exports registering 1,364 metric tonnes.

Other commodities handled in fairly large quantities included steel and bulk fertilizer that accounted for 31,304 metric tonnes and 24,722 metric tonnes respectively. Motor car imports recorded a sharp increase from 189 units in the previous week to 2,498 units. The sudden increase is contrary to assertion by the Chairman of the Car Importers Association of Kenya (CIAK) Mr. Peter Otieno that car import business was experiencing low moments but would resume in March.

During the week under review deliveries of general cargo from the port by the road transport recorded 82,593 metric tonnes while the conveyor delivered 75,685 metric tonnes. The Container Terminals received 12 container ships that recorded a ship average working time of 2.19       days. The import dwell time which is the average time between landing and exiting of a container at the port recorded 4.14 days.

While docked at the container berths, the vessels discharged 12,332 Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs), full and empty and loaded another 11,835 TEUs. Deliveries of containers from the Port by road transport registered 10,963 TEUs while the rail evacuated 1,145 TEUs registering an increase of 825 TEUs. The increase comes in the wake of the push for the use of the Standard Gauge Rail as a cost effective and efficient transport for upcountry destined containers.

Port stakeholders last week concurred that SGR was a noble idea but argued that its implementation ought to have addressed concerns raised by the stakeholders. Last week meeting was informed that SGR was only undergoing teething problems but would ultimately emerge good service at the end.

KPA Managing Director Mrs. Catherine Mtuiri-Wairi re-emphasized the need for continued engagement amongst Port stakeholders in the on-going implementation of the SGR freight service, pointing out its shortcoming with a view to making it better.

In the meantime container yard population had declined from 19,776 TEUs to 13,974 TEUs meaning an increased yard capacity .Containers awaiting pickup order submissions by respective Customs Agents were the highest registering 4,336 TEUs. These were followed by containers ready for collection which recorded 4,085 TEUs while full exports (nominated/un-nominated) registered 2,431 TEUs. Others included 381 transhipments, 1,880 TEUs empties and 861 TEUs at the Customs warehouse.

Forecast for the next two weeks   show that 15 vessels were expected to discharge 10,308 TEUS and load another 11,910 TEUs. The conventional cargo terminal is expected to discharge 235,626 metric tonnes and load 12,222 metric tonnes.

Meanwhile the Mombasa Port Stakeholders second think tank forum and annual review of the Port community charter is scheduled to commence tomorrow (Thursday) at a Mombasa north Coast beach hotel. The two day forum will be attended   by senior officials from the Ministry of Transport, infrastructure, housing and urban development, captains of maritime industry and key trade partners.