September 19, 2018 Transport, Infrastructure, Housing, Urban Development and Public Works cabinet secretary James Macharia outlined key projects under his docket to Kenya Ports Authority stakeholders at Villa Rosa Kempinski in Nairobi.
Among the areas of interest was the Port of Mombasa’s performance as an economic enabler and supporting infrastructural programmes to boost its operations as a business centre for the Northern Corridor region.
Tagged to the Big Four Agenda namely food security, manufacturing, healthcare and housing, the CS enumerated to the stakeholders what the Ministry expects and what it intends to do by 2022.
SECOND CONTAINER TERMINAL
Through the commissioning of Phase One of the Second Container Terminal by President Uhuru Kenyatta some two years ago, the Ministry started the construction process of Phase Two in August 2017 which is expected to be complete by October 2021.
The terminal, to be constructed in three phases will have a total annual capacity of 1.5 million TEUs, thus, increasingthe Port’s annual container handling capacity to 2.6 million TEUs by year 2022.
STANDARD GAUGE RAILWAY
The Ministry commenced the construction of Phase Two of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Nairobi to Naivasha with the expectations to be a game changer not only to inland Kenya but also the Lake regions.
Since June 1, 2017 Phase One of the SGR became operational with the passenger services that now stand to over 2 million passengers.
Last year January (2018), the Ministry commissioned the freight services between Mombasa and Nairobi with one train ferrying 108 containers daily from the Port of Mombasa to the Inland Container Depot in Nairobi.
Then this was increased
to a train every month and by August, the Ministry was doing eight trains
carrying a total of 864 TEUS daily with a target of 12 trains by
December the same year.
The commencement of construction of Phase 2A of the SGR from Nairobi to Naivasha in October 2016 is scheduled for commissioning in June this year.
The Nairobi Inland Container Depot (ICD) was upgraded expanding its annual capacity from 180,000 TEUs to 450,000 TEUs.
Since the commissioning
of the freight service, operations at the ICD have been at optimal levels.
However, owing to slow cargo evacuation from the depot and mix of logistical
hitches, the facility has been experiencing intermittent congestion.
Nonetheless, the Ministry is working closely with other government agencies to address the shortcomings and enhance ease roll in, roll out of doing business.
On the second commercial
Port in Lamu, the CS said the construction of the first three berths that
started in October 2016 is expected the first berth to be ready by December
last year (2018) while the remaining two to be completed before the year 2020.
When ready, the Port of Lamu is expected to open up further trade links between Kenya and its northern neighbours in South Sudan and Ethiopia through the new LAPSSET Corridor.
For the Port of Mombasa to be accessible to Burundi, the construction of an alternative route from the port to Burundi that runs through Holili Border, Singida-Kobero Border and finally to Burundi has been completed.
This route which covers about 1,545kms will reduce the distance from Mombasa to Bujumbura through the Northern Corridor by 358 kms thus enhancing port’s accessibility in the region.
To ease traffic flow between the Port of Mombasa and the hinterland, the construction of a dual carriage way between Mombasa and Mariakani is ongoing with the completion date set for 2020. The Government plans to eventually extend the dualing of the highway to Malaba via Nairobi.
In anticipation of capacity constraints in handling oil products at the port, the Ministry plans to effectively develop a modern oil handling facility by relocating the current Kipevu Oil Terminal to a new location.
On the Dongo-Kundu
by-pass, the first phase which runs from the Port of Mombasa’s Second Container
Terminal and joins the Mombasa-Nairobi Highway at Bonje near Mazeras was
completed and commissioned last year.
According to the Ministry the road’s design allows for the seamless integration between the Port of Mombasa, the Moi International Airport, the SGR, the Nairobi-Mombasa Highway and the upcoming Mombasa Northern Bypass.
“This road is critical in servicing the planned Free Trade Zone and Special Economic Zone at Dongo Kundu. In addition it shall open up the South Coast region and ease traffic congestion in the island,” Mr Macharia adding that the tendering process for construction of phase two is ongoing.
The Ministry is closely coordinating the Mombasa Port Community Charter to ensure all actors in the logistics chain play their respective roles effectively. Through this initiative, the Ministry has witnessed improvement in productivity and efficiency at the Port of Mombasa.
The government, according to Mr Macharia, is determined to continue developing a supportive and sustainable transport and infrastructure network conducive to business investment and pledged to be responsive to constructive views that would grow trade and development.