Cargo dwell time at the Port of Mombasa has reduced from an average of 5.6 days in December 2020 to 4.6 days in January 2021.
This follows a raft of strategic operational changes implemented by the Authority. Recently KPA took over SGR operations at Port Reitz Yard previously undertaken by Kenya Railways Operator and reorganized all railtainer operational process with logistics partners, hence increasing end-to-end efficiency in the port operations.
Dangerous cargo (DG) loading which was previously experiencing great delays due to dedicating only one loading zone at CT1 has now been improved by dedicating an additional loading point at Portreitz yard thus reducing the transfer distance from CT2 to CT1 and reducing evacuation time of DG Containers.
Additionally, centralization of the cargo handling processes and the recently introduced double deck wagons on the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) have significantly contributed to increased deliveries to the Inland Container Depot.
"Loading of double deck wagons has greatly boosted the number of containers being evacuated. We started with one double deck train of 38 wagons hauling 152 TEUs and this has now stabilized at two trains per week with plans to run at least one double deck train per day," observed Acting Managing Director Eng. Rashid Salim.
A total of 10,072 TEUs have been evacuated in the past two weeks compared to 9,774 in the first two weeks of the year. A single double deck train currently hauls 152 TEUs on a single trip using up to 30 percent less resources compared to the normal single stack train.
The MD added that as at Tuesday this week, the port only had one container ship waiting and four bulk carriers (Wheat) on the queue with the numbers expected to drop in the coming week.
"In fact, we will be loading SGR containers directly to rail from the discharging vessels", he said.
The Port of Mombasa recorded a marginal decline of 0.9% in total cargo throughput last year. A total of 34.12 million tons of cargo were handled in 2020 against 34.44 million tons handled in 2019.
Container traffic declined by 4.0% from 1,416,654 TEUs in 2019 to 1,359,579 TEUs in 2020. The decrease was mainly attributed to disruptions to the supply chain because of global lockdowns imposed due to the raging Covid-19 pandemic.
As part of improving the service delivery to customers across the region, KPA plans to enhance the use of automated Hand Held Terminals (HHT) for customers to get real time updates.
"We are in constant communication with our stakeholders to come up with more strategies for swift ship turnaround so that we not only improve efficiency but also jointly meet our obligations," Salim explained.
Meanwhile forecast for the next two weeks shows that 14 vessels are expected to discharge 19,533 TEUs at the container terminals and load another 21,541 TEUs. The Conventional cargo is expected to receive 18 general cargo ships to discharge 330,623 metric tonnes and load 54,333 metric tonnes. 3 Tanker vessels expected as well to discharge 157,074 metric tonnes.