Mombasa- Nation Media Group (NMG) has been ranked number one in promoting shipping business activities at Mombasa port by Kenya Ports Authority (KPA).
This was revealed by Ms Catherine Mturi-Wairi, the KPA managing director at the recently concluded three-day 4th Media Workshop held in Mombasa, Kenya last week.
The workshop drew close to 50 journalists from Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda and Burundi. Others were from Kenya.
According to Ms Wairi, NMG businesses, especially Business Daily, Daily Monitor’s sister newspaper, rank highest amongst all media houses in the greater East African region in promoting activities and businesses carried out at the port.
“I wish to commend all of you (but) more so the Nation Media Group for taking bold steps to start a weekly shipping pullout,” Ms Wairi said, adding that NMG is doing a lot of good in educating the world about shipping, maritime and ports activities; and also other businesses at the coastline.
She called on other media houses to emulate NMG in disseminating real-time news to the public.
With a theme ‘News reporting in a complex port ecosystem’, the speakers in the workshop revealed that in terms of doing business in the region, Uganda is Kenya’s greatest business partner with close to 82 per cent of Mombasa port’s market share for 2016 going to Uganda.
The rankings stood at 82 per cent for Uganda, 7.7 per cent for South Sudan; 4.9 per cent for D.R Congo; 2.5 per cent for Rwanda; 2.4 per cent for Tanzania; 0.5 per cent for Burundi; 0.1 per cent for Somalia; and 0.1 per cent for others. Mombasa port handled 22.7 million tonnes of cargo in the months from January to September 2017 alone.
Ms Wairi’s disclosure was collaborated by Mr Martin Mutuku, the KPA head of corporate development in charge of strategy, who said: “Uganda is a great market for Kenya’s ports.”
Speaking at the sidelines of the workshop, Mr William Kidima, the Uganda resident representative at the port, said KPA has been very instrumental in the lives of many Ugandan businesspeople. He, however, called upon the Ugandan business community to always transact business through established port guidelines.
He added: “Many importers lose their goods because they take shortcuts. Short cuts are dangerous because they make you operate outside the law.”
Ms Wairi also confirmed that Kenya’s political challenges that have engulfed the country over the past six months have not impacted negatively on the performance of the port.
She said contrary to expectations that port performance would be affected by the long electioneering period that saw annulment of the August 8 Presidential election and the uncertainty afterwards, the port had performed well.
Last week, the Supreme Court upheld the re-election of President Uhuru Kenyatta, paving the way for his swearing-in that took place yesterday.
The port weathered the political storm, posting higher cargo volumes than last year.
However, there have been challenges in the off take of cargo after transporters scaled down their fleet of trucks ferrying cargo from the port for fear of attacks as demonstrations were witnessed in some parts of Nairobi, Western Kenya and Nyanza.
“This year we have witnessed signs of a good performance in the last nine months from January to September, despite the prolonged electioneering period. The port handled 22.7 million tonnes of cargo compared with 20.5 million tonnes over the same period last year reflecting an increase of 2.2 million tonnes or 10.6 per cent,” Ms Wairi said.
Ms Wairi attributed the performance to opening of phase one of the second container terminal that added 550,000 Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) to the ports’ capacity.
“The has partly been caused by the presence of the second container terminal that has made tremendous contributions to the total traffic handled in the port since it became operational in April 2016,” she said.
The terminal has handled 202,661 TEUs between January and September.
In the same period 120 vessels called with a monthly average of 22,518 TEUs, she said, adding that construction of phase two of the terminal is expected to start early next year.
Kenya Railways managing director Atanas Maina said the launch of freight services on December 1 was on course with a report on rates that will apply undergoing stakeholder consultations.
“We came up with the rates that we are now taking to the industry players so that we have their feedback before we launch the service. We are also considering how other charges that accrue before cargo is delivered to the customer will be handled,” he said.
Other speakers at the forum were NMG non-executive director Wangethi Mwangi, Express Shipping Limited managing director Silvester Kututa and Kenya Ship Agents Association chief executive officer Juma Tellah.