Container traffic increased by 22.1% in 2007 to reach a total of 585,367 teu, compared with 479,355 teu in 2006. Mr Mwaruwa noted that the port’s container terminal, which was designed to handle 250,000 teu a year, is now handling close to 600,000 teu.â€¨He pointed to the success of the KPA’s marketing efforts in transit countries, which had helped increase transit traffic from 3,807,738 tonnes in 2006 to 4,423,103 tonnes in 2007, a rise of 16.2%.â€¨
According to Mr Mwaruwa, the transhipment traffic segment has benefited greatly from recent modernisation of the port’s cargo handling equipment. Improved handling services helped transhipment traffic to revive from 318,415 tonnes in 2006 to 426,436 tonnes in 2007.â€¨â€¨
In February 2008 transhipment traffic was suspended due to the high volumes of cargo at the port. It will be resumed as soon as off-take delivery services are improved and more cargo space is created. Mr Mwaruwa outlined some of the congestion challenges facing the KPA. These included the fact that modernisation at the port had caught out other transport sectors unprepared for handling more cargo, with poor road networks and a lack of serious investment in trucks and rail services.â€¨The port was also suffering because shippers were slow to collect imports, a situation that was triggered by the KPA removing storage charge in 2006.â€¨â€¨
According to Mr Mwaruwa, the most serious consequence of congestion at the port was the threat of shipping lines imposing surcharges for vessel delays. The KPA, supported by port customers and stakeholders, has fought to avoid the imposition of charges and has reached an agreement with shipping lines on performance benchmarks.