Work on the new container terminal at the Mombasa port may begin next month with a decision on the construction contract expected imminently.
Three Japanese firms – Toa Corporation, Toyo Construction and Penta Ocean – have submitted bids and while the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has come up with its recommendation for the project the selection process has to be finalised by Japan Ports Consultants (JPC) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica).
The Japanese Government, through Jica, is providing some of the funding for the development which is expected to cost at least Sh16 billion.
Recently, an unnamed official at KPA told Xinhua News Agency that extreme lobbying over award of tenders at the Mombasa Port was threatening to delay the project.
The new container handling complex is urgently needed as cargo volumes, especially to/from landlocked Africa are piling up. The port is currently handling more than twice its design throughput of 250,000 20-foot equivalent container units (TEU).
In addition, competition with other regional ports for this traffic base is intensifying as Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa all bring on line new marine cargo handling capacity and improve their inland transport networks.
According to the KPA, the new terminal will have the capacity to handle 1.2 million TEU, with operations commencing in 2013.
The facility handled 695,600 TEU, up 12.4 per cent from 618,816 in 2009 and way above its designed capacity of 250,000 TEU a year, Gichiri Ndua, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) managing director, told the media.