Seaports register cargo growth despite Covid-19

Wednesday January 26 2022
Second Container Terminal

An increase in business at the Second Container Terminal at Mombasa port. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT


There was an increase in the cargo volumes handled by the ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam in 2021, a rebound at a time when the two countries are investing more on their lakes and sea ports.

Mombasa recorded a slight increase in throughput with 34.54 million tonnes against 34.12 million tonnes handled in 2020, representing a growth of 1.2 percent with transshipment contributing to about 25 percent of the total growth.

Similarly, container traffic improved, registering 1.43 million twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs) compared with 1.35 million TEUs handled in the same period in 2020 representing an increase of 75,986 TEUs or 5.6 percent.

Kenya Ports Authority acting managing director John Mwangemi said the improved performance was mainly attributed to a continued recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic period which in 2020 disrupted the global supply chain, and affecting many ports operations globally, but also, to improved resource planning and efficiency of business processes.

The port of Dar es Salaam registered 10.7 percent cargo through put in the last third-quarter of 2021, as authorities there embarked on a $421 million upgrade to improve cargo handling.

The national ports registered 10.7 percent improvement in the third-quarter of 2021 of cargo throughput in both sea and lakes where 4.67 million tonnes were handled, a significant increase from the 4.22 million tonnes handled in 2020.


The Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) said the Dar es Salaam upgrade is targeting to increase its share of regional freight to earn more from the growing exports and imports.

TPA said the modernisation will be completed in 2024, and will enable it handle 25 million tonnes of cargo, up from the current 16 million, annually.

The project is being funded by the World Bank, UK’s Department for International Development and government internal sourcing.

TPA Director General Eric Hamissi said upon completion, the port will handle and serve big vessels of up to 303 metres carrying 8,000 containers each.

“The modernisation project will include the expansion of the first berth to increase its handling capacity to ships of over 70,000 tonne and over 300 metres long,” he said, and will “position the port to be among the most competitive ports on eastern Africa coast.”

Tanzania Works and Transport minister Prof Makame Mbarawa said the government had tasked the TPA to fast-track the port upgrade to improve service to regional states which depend on Dar es Salam.

He said this early this week when signing an initial agreement for the construction of the 282km-long standard gauge railway line from Uvinza in Kigoma (Tanzania) to Gitega, the capital of Burundi.