•As of Monday, before the vessel was dislodged from the muddy edges of the canal, about 450 ships were waiting to pass through the channel.
•KPA general manager operations William Ruto said they are prepared to handle some of the grain vessels that might have been affected by the blockade.
Kenya’s global trade did not suffer much from the six-day blockade of the Suez Canal in Egypt, Kenya Ports Authority management said on Wednesday.
A cargo vessel, Ever Given, which is operated by global shipping line Evergreen, became wedged across the canal after it was blown off course by strong winds.
As of Monday, before the vessel was dislodged from the muddy edges of the canal, about 450 ships were waiting to pass through the channel.
Kenyan importers and manufacturers raised concerns that they might incur losses from the delay of their cargo on board the vessels that were waiting along the channel.
But KPA acting managing director Rashid Salim said the impact of the blockade on Kenya’s export and import businesses was insignificant.
He said most Kenyan imports are from Asian countries and most of the ships that use the Suez Canal route are those from America and Europe.
“We will experience very minimal impact from the Suez Canal blockage in terms of container vessels as it will only affect cargo from Europe and America that are normally transshipped from the Gulf ports,” Salim said.
“We do not foresee much of an impact given that our imports are mainly from Asia. Cargo from Europe and America accounted for less than 35 per cent of Kenyan imports.”
He said major shipping lines plying Kenya’s trade routes had indicated that the negative impact would be a slight delay for their first carrier transhipment vessels.
There was only one vessel that had left the Port of Mombasa for Europe and by the time of the incident, it had already passed the Suez Canal.
Exports from Kenya to Europe and America, which are mainly refrigerated avocados, could experience slight delays, according to Salim.
Fresh produce is currently the main export commodity to Europe.
KPA general manager operations William Ruto said they are prepared to handle some of the grain vessels that might have been affected by the blockade.
“On the likelihood of any delays on grain vessels and possible bunching up of ship arrivals, we are on top-level preparedness with reviewed operational strategies in place,” Ruto said.
Edited by Kiilu Damaris