Dock workers praise Manduku as new boss of Kenya Ports Authority

Kenya Ports Authority Chairman Joseph Kibwana (L) with Managing Director Daniel Manduku when they appeared before the senate ad-hoc committee investigating the maize crisis in the country. October 2, 2018. Photo/Jack Owuor
Kenya Ports Authority Chairman Joseph Kibwana (L) with Managing Director Daniel Manduku when they appeared before the senate ad-hoc committee investigating the maize crisis in the country. October 2, 2018. Photo/Jack Owuor

The Dock Workers Union on Friday welcomed the confirmation of Daniel Manduku as managing director of the Kenya Ports Authority.

Secretary general Simon Sang in a email said their “prayers have been answered”. He said Manduku has the workers’ interests at heart.

“The unique thing in Dr Manduku is his ability to manoeuvre when situations don’t appear to allow it in normal circumstances,” Sang said.

His success was attributed to dramatically improving port performance in six months.

Manduku, an architect and former chief executive of the National Construction Authority, scored 81 per cent during the interviews by Deloitte that ended last week.

The recruitment attracted 56 applicants;15 were shortlisted before being subjected to a panel that picked five. The five were subjected to various tests before the names were handed over to the board. After that, final tests were conducted and Manduku emerged tops.

The remaining four candidates were believed to have extensive experience in port operations and have worked for KPA for years.

Maritime Consultant Stanley Chai, KPA’s former general manager for technical services, Joseph Atonga and immediate former general manager operations Sudi Mwasinago were among candidates.

Manduku, Atonga and Chai all participated in the 2016 interviews, in which the Catherine Mturi emerged tops with 72.5 per cent. Atonga was second with 68.75 per cent while Chai came third with 58.2 per cent.

However, in last week’s interview, Manduku was tops with 81 per cent, Atonga 60 per cent and Chai 48 per cent. Chai, a maritime lecturer at a local university, is also a technical adviser to the presidential task force on Blue Economy in Nairobi.

He was appointed for two months, before his tenure was extended for another four months. Port stakeholders, including the Kenya International Freight and Forwarders Association, hailed his appointment as a good move.

“We congratulate Manduku and urge him to continue in the struggle to reduce bottlenecks in cargo transportation,” William Ojonyo, the Kifwa national chairman, said

Manduku htremendous changes at KPA since he was called to replace Catherine Mturi, the first woman MD at the parastatal

At the time of his appointment in May this year, the Port of Mombasa was experiencing huge container traffic congestion and several ships waiting in the deep seas.

Slow movement of cargo has been blamed on rivalry among top managers of state agencies, including KPA, the Kenya Revenue Authority, Kenya Railways, Kenya Bureau of Standards and the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Services operating at the port.

However, Mturi’s supporters say seh was sabotged internally and externally.

During that time, the then Principal Secretary for Transport Professor Paul Maringa and East African Affairs Cabinet Secretary Peter Munya and his Trade Counterpart Adan Mohammed camped at the port for several days to oversee the business.

Tension was high before a board meeting was called at night; members suspended Mturi and replacedher with Manduku

KPA has had its share of restructuring periods and some people joke that the post of MD is jinxed.

Retiring in February 2016 were former long-serving MD Gichiri Ndua, GM for Operations Captain Twalib Khamisi and Head of Legal Services and Company Secretary Muthoni Gatere, Justus Nyarandi (General Manager-Cooperative Services) and Major Mohamed Morowa (head of Security).

Another purge saw Eng Abdullahi Samatar (GM Infrastructure Development) deployed to Kisumu Port. Long-serving Eng Joseph Atonga, GM for Engineering Services, was retired. Sudi Mwasimango, GM for Operations and Harbour Master, was deployed to Kisumu in March.

Manduku’s success is credited to improved port operations in the last six months. “Cargo evacuation is high and Kenya Revenue Authority now collects Sh50 billion in a month, meaning people are paying and collecting their cargo,” said a port insider.

Manduku says the Port of Mombasa is now edging closer towards attaining 48-hours turn-around time for bigger vessels, following the consistent record performances being set at the facility.

Within the last five months, the Kenya Ports Authority has registered four record performances, Manduku said recently.

He said the Port of Mombasa recorded yet another record performance of 190 moves per hour, inching closer towards the world record of 200 moves per hour.

Manduku says Khalifa Port, which is one of Abu Dhabi’s flagship ports, crossed the 200 moves per hour benchmark in 2015. Kenya now wants to break it by the end of 2018.

Gross moves per hour is a maritime productivity term that defines the total container movement on loading, offloading and repositioning divided by the number of hours the vessel is at berth.