- Murkomen said there are not enough women in technical sectors that involve port and maritime matters.
- He said port and maritime matters should no longer be a man’s forte.
Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen has asked the Kenya Ports Authority management to hire more women to improve efficiency.
Murkomen said there are not enough women in technical sectors that involve port and maritime matters.
Speaking at the Mombasa port on Monday when he witnessed the offloading of four new ship-to-shore gantry cranes, Murkomen said port and maritime matters should no longer be a man’s forte.
“I am pleased to hear that one of these cranes will be piloted by a lady. We have agreed with the MD that he needs to be deliberate in hiring and training other women to be able to be part and parcel of this progress,” Murkomen said.
At the same time, the CS allayed fears that the Mombasa port will lose business to neighbouring ports including that of Dar es Salaam and Port of Berbera.
“I believe that our port is moving forward. Do not listen to these rumours that the Mombasa port has been overtaken by another port in whatever. No!
“We are at the forefront to ensure that the Mombasa port continues to be the leading and most competitive port in Africa,” Murkomen said.
The latest ports ranking commissioned by the World Bank put Dar es Salaam Port at position 312 in the world, ahead of Port of Mombasa at 326.
The Port of Djibouti remained Africa’s most efficient port, placed at position 26 in the world.
In the Horn of Africa and the entire continent, the Port of Berbera in Somaliland came in second, behind Djibouti, at number 144 globally.
In Africa, Dar came at position 25, and Mombasa at position 29.
These are the rankings that Murkomen sought to allay saying they are based on unknown parameters.
Last week, PLO Lumumba warned that if not careful, the Port of Berbera in Somaliland could also surpass that of Mombasa.
He accused the country’s leadership of sleeping and not doing what is required for the port leading to the loss of business in Tanzania’s Port of Dar es Salaam.
“Let’s come out and tell the leadership of our worry that losing at the port of Mombasa poses a threat to local residents,” he said.
Murkomen however highlighted the improved numbers of the Mombasa port saying they are a result of continued strategic efforts to improve the port.
And to motivate the KPA staff further, he announced that he would be addressing the bonuses issue soon.
“The small matter of bonuses is on my desk. And sooner than later, I will make sure that it is approved by my office,” Murkomen said much to the delight of the KPA workers.
The arrival of the four new STS cranes follows the decommissioning of the previous equipment, which served the port for the past 19 years.
The new cranes boast a hoisting speed of 80 meters per minute, effortlessly lifting a maximum of 65 tons in a twin lift motion.
The decommissioned equipment had a hoisting speed of 70 metres per minute.
“Additionally, the trolley speed of these modern giants clocks in at an impressive 240 meters per second, compared to the previous 180 meters per second,” Murkomen said.
The new cranes have a capacity of handling bigger vessels of 21 containers across compared to the previous ones which handled only 18 across.
Murkomen said the new cranes will minimize downtime as the Mombasa port strives to serve global needs with precision.
Last year, KPA received three new STSs which were deployed at berth 22.
With the arrival of the four new STSs, the Mombasa port now boasts of a contingent of 16 STSs, 25 reach stackers, with four more anticipated, and a fleet of 27 Empty Container Handlers poised for procurement.
“Additionally, the Port of Lamu is set to welcome three Ship-to-Shore Gantry cranes, further solidifying our commitment to modernization and capacity expansion,” the Transport CS said.
In the first half of 2023, the Mombasa port saw a cargo handling surge from 17.48 million tons handled in 2022 to an impressive 18.06 million tons this year, a 3.3 percent increase.
Container traffic rose from 722,063 TEUs to 783,125 TEUs, signifying an impressive 8.5 percent surge.
“Our projection of handling 34.5 million tons, 1.4 percent more than 2022, and 1.56 million TEUs, which is 7.7 percent growth from 2022, underscores our unwavering commitment to progress. These figures are more than statistics; they embody our journey's momentum, the power of our strategies, and the promise of even greater accomplishments in the maritime realm,” Murkomen said.
The CS said the government is working towards meeting the ever-evolving needs of partners, stakeholders, and the global trade network.
The new cranes foster KPA’s capacity to handle current trade volumes while seamlessly embracing future growth.
“We stand as a beacon, illuminating the path for imports and exports, igniting economic prosperity not only within our nation but throughout the region,” he said.
KPA managing director Captain William Ruto said the four state-of-the-art ship-to-shore gantry cranes arrived in the country last week.
The process of offloading them will be finalized on Wednesday and will take one month before they are commissioned.
“These equipment will double the efficiency of the port,” Ruto said.
The KPSA boss said after the commissioning of the four new cranes, the Mombasa port will be above the rest in the region in terms of port efficiency.
Initially, the MD said, shipping lines used to avoid berth 16 because of delays experienced.
“But today, all the shipping lines are now saying they want their ships to be planned at berth 16,” Captain Ruto said.
The MD revealed he was the one behind the push to bring in the four new cranes two years ago when there was not even a budget for them.
He said they had to cancel plans to acquire some equipment for the dockyard in order to have funds for the four new cranes.
KPA chairman Benjamin Tayari described the arrival of the cranes as a ‘game-changer’ and promised to make the Mombasa port the best in Africa.
“This is what we are going to do in the next year,” Tayari said.