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Freight to benefit from African battle of the ports

Follow @JosephWilkesWDM Its a battle of the sea ports in East Africa, as Mombasa port in Kenya begins a $13 billion expansion to deal with competition ...

Freddie Pierce
|Aug 22|magazine5 min read

It’s a battle of the sea ports in East Africa, as Mombasa port in Kenya begins a $13 billion expansion to deal with competition from neighbouring Tanzania.

Mombasa in Kenya, East Africa’s biggest sea port, is expanding railways and building new mooring berths for boats to tackle a problem with congestion, which is seeing the port struggle to cope with the ever increasing traffic.

It has been reported that Mombasa is losing market share in the region to Tanzania as railways and roads cannot cope and the neighboring country steps up its own game with the construction of a $11 billion port in the small East Tanzanian town of Bagamoyo, which Tanzanian authorities announced would go ahead after signing a deal with Chinese investors.

It is believed that years of underinvestment has caused the problem.

A plan to construct a $13 billion railway project is being lead by the President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta.

The railway will link Mombasa to the capitals of Uganda and Rwanda.

The Kenya Ports Authority will next week open a nineteenth docking station and will invest $320 million in three more at a new container terminal. This is will more than double capacity to 2.3 million containers and is the biggest upgrade to the port since 1980.

The government is also building a new facility at Lamu, on Lamu Island in the north east of Kenya.

Mombasa harbour serves the land-locked nations of Uganda, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, which make up some of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

A Kenya Ports Authority statement in April detailed its aim to “expand container handling capacity of the port of Mombasa in order to match future trends, stay competitive in cargo handling and facilitate economic development in the Eastern and Central Africa region.”

The improvements will make Mombasa more attractive to international companies, and will challenge the Bagamoyo port.

It is feared by Kenyans that this Bagamoyo will make Tanzania the biggest hitter in terms of sea ports. Kenya for a long while has been the main port of call but now a battle is raging to create that can meet the rising economic demand.