Mombasa port’s new cranes to boost efficiency

Saturday August 12 2023

The Four State of the Art Gantry Cranes on board Mv Zhen Hua 35 Ship sail through the Kilindini Channel to the Port of Mombasa, Kenya on August 7, 2023. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG


The Port of Mombasa has begun installing new equipment for efficient clearance of cargo in a bid to catch up with peers.

This week, the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) acquired $40.7 million equipment to modernise its ship-to-cargo handling capacity and to reduce delays at the Port of Mombasa.

The four to ship-to-shore cranes (STSs) from ZPMC China arrived at the port on Monday morning. They are expected to be discharged at berth 16.

The acquisition of the cranes means Mombasa can load and offload cargo from a vessel to the quayside at a speed of 40 moves per hour.

“The four new generation STSs will replace the recently decommissioned cranes at berth 16 and have capacity for twin lift as opposed to the old generation single lift,” said KPA Managing Director Capt William Ruto.

The decision to phase out the old cranes comes at a time a new report by the World Bank revealed that the Port of Dar es Salaam has overtaken Mombasa in efficiency.


Read: Dar port topples Mombasa with $357m upgrade

The two ports are engaged in cut-throat competition for business, and efficiency is key to attracting traders from the region.

Dar es Salaam port presently has a capacity to handle 14.1 million tonnes of dry cargo and six million tonnes of bulk liquid cargo.

Dar handles about 90-95 percent of the country’s international trade and also serves six landlocked countries that include Zambia, Malawi, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Regional competition among ports is also shaping up as Somalia’s port cities angle themselves to eat a share of the shipping and logistics business.

Read: Dar, Djibouti ports beat Mombasa in new ranking

Capt Ruto said the four cranes will increase berth productivity and reduce ship working time at berth 16 by nearly 40 percent.

Early this year, the Kenya Ports Authority-KPA bought five harbour mobile cranes (HMCs) worth Ksh3.7 billion ($26 million) for the Lamu and Mombasa ports. All the cranes have a lifting capacity of 100 tonnes, a specification that will enable the port’s capability to handle larger cargo vessels.