PUBLISHED ON August 29th, 2014

Africa’s Ports Lag in Capacity for Wider Ships

AFRICAN countries with coastlines could significantly lose out on the growing multi-billion dollar international maritime trade if they fail to urgently initiate plans to upgrade their ports, Kenya Ports Authority chairman Danson Mungatana has warned.

This would add to the trade woes of the continent, whose share of global trade is conservatively estimated at a mere two per cent, unless existing ports are expanded to cope with prevailing technological advancements in maritime transport business, he said.

Mungatana cited the four-fold jump in the capacity of sea vessels to 16,000 Twenty Foot Equivalent Units in 2011 from 4,000 TEUs in 1996 and 6,000 TEUs in 2001 as warning bells to port authorities.

“The steady increase in ship sizes coupled with growing cargo volumes has put pressure on cargo infrastructure and terminal capacities the world over, (and) in particular for African ports which have capacity constraints and poor transport infrastructure connectivity,” Mungatana told the two-day East Africa Transport Infrastructure Conference that ended yesterday in Nairobi.

The Mombasa Port, he said on June 30, was preparing to start the second phase of dredging after completion of the first one at a cost of Sh5.9 billion in 2012.

The first phase enabled a 4,530 TEUs MV Maersk Cairo ship, its largest ever, dock at the port in February this year.

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