A surge in transit cargo passing through the Port of Mombasa, prompted by inefficiencies at the Port of Dar es Salaam, has seen a notable uptick, reaching 11 percent as landlocked countries increasingly opt for Kenya due to quicker turnaround times in clearance processes.

The transit traffic category demonstrated robust growth, reaching 10.4 million tonnes of cargo in the 11 months leading up to November 2023.

Dar es Salaam Port, Kenya’s primary regional rival, contends with severe congestion, causing vessels to endure clearance times of up to seven days. This bottleneck results in elevated shipping costs and market shortages for goods, forcing the Great Lakes Countries to channel more traffic to Mombasa.

Anticipating a continued upward trajectory, the port authorities project that annual volumes for transit traffic will hit 11 million tonnes in 12 months to December 2023.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) shine a light on the remarkable improvements in the overall efficiency of the Port of Mombasa.

The turnaround time for container vessels, an important marker of port competitiveness, decreased from an average of three days in 2022 to two days in 2023.

Enhancing efficiency further, the average container dwell time reduced to 3.5 days from 3.9 days in 2022, marking a 10 percent improvement.

Ship waiting time for containerised vessels dwindled to a mere 0.2 days, while the gross vessel turnaround time recorded a significant drop from 90.5 hours in 2022 to 64.1 hours in 2023.

Noteworthy improvements in turnaround times were also observed across specific vessel types. Bulk cargo vessel turnaround time stood at 3.6 days, car carrier vessel turnaround time at 0.9 days, general cargo vessel turnaround time at 7.2 days, and tanker vessel turnaround time at 4.3 days.

Total cargo throughput at the port surged by 5.1 percent, equivalent to 1.587 million tonnes, reaching an impressive 32,950,000 tonnes in the review period.

The driving force behind this growth was the substantial increase in transit cargo handling, which soared by 1.017 million tonnes. Foreseeing a continued upward trajectory, the port authorities anticipate a year-end total cargo throughput of 35 million tonnes.