Logistics firm Bollore Africa Logistics is keen on running the second container terminal at the Port of Mombasa. The firm said it would place aÂ bid should the Kenyan Government call a tender for concession to run the terminal that is currently being constructed by the Kenya Ports Authority once it is complete. KPA has in the past said it would look for a concessionaire to run the terminal. Bollore is among the companies that have stated their interest to run the port. The Mombasa Port is key to the region but is bogged down by inefficiencies to the extent that there have been reports that it is losing out to the port of Dar es Salaam. A number of Ugandan and Kenyan importers are opting to use the Tanzanian port to cut down on cost and time wasted when using Mombasa. The port is widely used by businesses importing into and exporting from the Eastern Africa region. Dominique Lafont President and CEO of Bollore Logistics Africa, said privately running the port could entrench Mombasa’s position as a regional shipment hub.
He noted that the rapport that the firm has with vessel owners could also increase traffic to Mombasa. “We have been in Kenya for 45 years and have been interested to run Mombasa on a concession for a long time. I had thought about it as far back as 15 years,” said Lafont. “We believe that Mombasa should be the driving port for East Africa… it should be a natural transhipment centre for the region. I know this because we have developed three transhipment centres in West Africa which did not exist before. This is thanks to the fact that we have a good quality of service to ship owners and they know us well. They have been our clients for decades and not just European but also Asian ship owners with whom we have a strong relationship of trust.” The new container terminal is part of the strategic plan by KPA to transform port operations and it is expected to create 1,000 jobs directly and another 4 000 indirectly.
The increased port capacity is expected to attract new shipping lines to route their vessels to Mombasa. The new terminal is expected to handle 1.2 million 20-feet equivalent units (TEUs), growing the total capacity of the port of Mombasa to an estimated 2.1 million 20-feet units. It is scheduled for completion in 2016. “Mombasa should be the major gateway for East Africa. Not just Kampala, Rwanda and Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo but also South Sudan and Southern Ethiopia,” said Lafont. “Ethiopia is an emerging African giant with a population of 90 million and a strong economic growth.
I think that this is an asset for Kenya to serve the Ethiopian trade and it should not limit to what traditionally exists for Kenya.” The firm, largely popular for its logistics business, started being a port operator in the early 2000s and Lafont said it has so far been awarded most of the ports that it has tendered. “We invest a lot in extending infrastructure both in civil works and equipment and invest over 300 million euros per year throughout our network in Africa,” he said. “We have modernized different ports to enable them handle new generation vessels that are coming to Africa. Formerly the African ports that we have taken up were not able to handle exceeding 3, 000 TEUs but we have built and reinforced quays to enable them handle vessels which transport 6,000 to 8,000 TEUs. This is the case in many of the ports, including LomÃ© (Togo), Cotonou (Burkina Faso), and Pointe Noire (Congo). It will be the case in the coming years for Abidjan in Ivory Coast and Lagos, Nigeria.”
Source: Standard Media
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