The Government of Kenya is going to spend Sh20 billion to improve four berths at the port of Mombasa to handle packed and unpacked goods in containers, the local media reported. Growing demand for imported cargo has forced the government to invest in upgrading Mombasa port with the port facing an estimated rise of at least 5 percent every year in imported cargo, according to Daniel Manduk, managing director of the Kenya Ports Authority.

The European Investment Bank and French Development Agency AFD have offered to finance the Mombasa port’s upgrade at commercial rates. Construction works for the Mombasa port upgrade are expected to be completed by 2020 with 10 foreign firms, from countries including Singapore and China. These firms have expressed interest in leasing the port from the Kenya government. 

Kenya Ports Authority is also spending an additional Sh39 billion to build a new oil terminal which will replace the existing one that dates back to 1968. China Communication Construction is the project’s contractor.

Exports account for 15 percent of the cargo that goes through the port every year. Kenya takes the lion’s share of the cargo, while one-third of it belongs to neighbouring countries. Manduku told the local media that “We are currently undertaking major expansion programmes…We are trying to be ahead of the game.”

The cargo volume is expected to increase to 34 million tonnes this year, including 1.4 million 20-foot containers. 

Mombasa port was built in 1895. It is the main trade gateway serving the Eastern Africa region, including Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Rwanda and South Sudan among others.