Sh30 billion Mombasa terminal begins operations

A new terminal in Mombasa valued at Sh30 billion began operations yesterday and is expected to boost cargo volumes handled by East Africa’s largest seaport by 50 per cent.

The terminal, which has taken almost four years to construct, was funded via a loan from Japan through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and was completed in February 2016.

President Uhuru Kenyatta, who officially opened the facility, said the terminal heralded “a whole new era in the development of our ports and facilitation of the region’s international trade.”

The Head of State confirmed that the terminal would help him fulfil promises he made to the country’s youth by creating job opportunities.

President Kenyatta added that the terminal was completed at a time when British explorer, Tullow Oil, in partnership with Africa Oil, has discovered oil and gas in the northwest region of the country.

He said the new terminal will act as a gateway to East and Central Africa. Kenyatta noted that the Indian Ocean port funnels fuel imports and consumer goods and also exports tea and coffee from landlocked neighbouring countries such as Uganda and Rwanda.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said the new terminal can handle 550,000 twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs) per year and will ramp up Mombasa’s existing annual cargo handling capacity from 1.05 million TEUs to 1.6 million TEUs.

“In five years’ time, we expect to have hit 2.5 million TEUs after completing the second phase,” said Rotich. The CS confirmed that the country has already signed an agreement with JICA for credit worth Sh32 billion to fund the second phase of the new terminal’s construction.

The move comes when the rate of African borrowing is increasing tremendously, a move the International Monetary fund says is dangerous for the continent.

Meanwhile, Kenya is expected to pay the Sh30 billion debt for a period of no less than 40 years.

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