The 1.2 million teu capacity terminal is to be built in three phases on some 100 hectares of land next to the Kipevu Oil Terminal about one kilometre from the present container terminal. The first phase is expected to take three years to build and when finally completed in 2013, the terminal will more than double the port’s current container handling capacity.
As part of the project, the port’s harbour channel is to be dredged to an average depth of 15 m and the turning basin also widened to enable Mombasa handle the larger vessels that will use the facility. A new access road 4km long will also have to be built, linking the terminal with the main highway into Mombasa.
Containers now constitute about 70% of all cargo handled at the Port of Mombasa and are growing at a rate of around 12% each year. With the current three berth terminal expecting to top the one million teu mark by the year 2015, KPA managing director Abdalla Mwaruwa said that a second container terminal has become essential in order to cater for increasing numbers of containers not only for Kenya but also for neighbouring countries. He pointed out that the existing facilities were already overstretched and that the KPA had been forced to issue a one-month deadline to importers, agents and forwarders to clear their overstayed boxes from the port.
The loan has been acquired under Special Terms for Economic Partnership (STEP), the first one in Sub-Saharan Africa. Under STEP, the advanced technologies of Japanese companies will be utilised to construct the new container terminal.
“The loan for the project is a soft and very special facility to KPA because it carries an incredibly low interest rate of 0.2% per annum with a grace period of 10 years and 40 years within which to repay,” said Susumu Iwamoto, JBIC’s chief representative.