- At the moment, there are serious congestion problems facing ports in the region because of the Christmas season.
- This has resulted in increasing waiters at sea for many ports in the region.
The Mombasa port on Monday received MV Jolly Oro, which made its maiden call at the port, as shipping lines now look to diversify their services as freights go down globally.
MV Jolly Oro, operated by Messina Line, one of the Mombasa port’s major partners who normally operate ro-ro (roll-on/roll-off) vessels, carried over 2,000 containers, 541 (about 1,000 TEUs) of which were destined for the Port of Dar es Salaam.
Massimiliano Riccardi, the ports, terminal and logistics worldwide manager for Messina Line, said the Mombasa port’s efficiency has been their main attraction.
“We have been here for many years and we would like to stay as long as possible. We enjoy the port, the facilities and the services of Mombasa which do not cost us much compared to other regional ports,” he said.
“We are happy about the performance and we all pull to keep ourselves in the kind of productivity and performances in this terminal and in this port,” Riccardi said.
He said the Mombasa port’s efficiency means reduced stay and no waiting for ships which usually attracts demurrage for shipping lines which run into millions of dollars.
“In comparison with other ports, we feel more at home and comfortable here in Mombasa. Unfortunately, we are not enjoying the same performances in other regional ports and this is a problem for all the East Africa service.
“In the end, if one port is under performing and affecting schedule it affects the full schedule. We hope that all the services in East Africa will improve and the performances in the ports will improve everywhere like in Mombasa,” Riccardi said.
Port industry experts say with the global decline of freights, shipping lines are now banking on last mile services to stay afloat.
And this is where a port’s efficiency comes in handy.
“The reason why they are doing that is because of the emerging congestion at the Port of Dar es Salaam and out of our efficiency,” Kenya Ports Authority managing director Captain William Ruto said.
At the moment, there are serious congestion problems facing ports in the region because of the Christmas season.
This has resulted in increasing waiters at sea for many ports in the region.
However, because of the efficiency at the Mombasa port, there is currently no ship waiting at the Mombasa port.
This is contrary to other ports, who are overwhelmed, with at least 38 ships waiting to dock at the Port of Dar es Salaam, 22 waiting to dock at Beira port in Mozambique, nine ships waiting to call at Maputo port in Mozambique, and 32 waiting to call at Richards Bay port in South Africa.
The Port of Durban, also in South Africa has 49 ships waiting to dock while Djibouti, the best performing port in Africa, has 35 ships waiting to dock currently.
This shows Mombasa port, ranked the second best performing in Africa according to Africa Ports Report, is rising to the occasion.
“We have prepared ourselves as a port to improve our efficiency even further,” Captain Ruto said.
This was the first time Messina introduced a main container vessel into Mombasa port saying they are impressed by its efficiency.
“What has also brought these new services from shipping lines is our efficiency,” Ruto said.
Other shipping lines that have introduced new services at the Mombasa port include Emirates Shipping Line which brought its maiden vessel for a voyage on Sunday and left on Monday, headed for Dar es Salaam.
Other include Cosco, MSC, CMA CGM and Maersk.
“Out of all these new services that everybody is introducing, is trying to address the challenges that they are facing within the ports within our region,” Captain Ruto said.
He said the Mombasa port workers are well prepared for the extra services that are being introduced and will still work to improve on efficiency.
Apart from the human capital that is well trained, the expansion that the Mombasa port has been undertaking has contributed to the attraction of new services with berth occupancy having increased by more than 82 per cent.
At the moment, there are 25 container vessels, 19 general cargo vessels and four oil tankers that are expected call at the Mombasa port in the next 14 days.
The four new ship-to-shore gantry cranes that the KPA introduced recently have contributed to the efficiency that is attracting new services.
“We continue investing in equipment that will assist us to grow our productivity,” Captain Ruto said.