The Port of Mombasa will more than double its container handling capacity following the completion of a new terminal.
The first phase of the terminal, developed under the Mombasa Port Development Program (MPDP), has already seen the port's capacity boosted by 50% to around 550,000 twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs) annually.
The new terminal is expected to give the port a total extra capacity of 1.5m TEUs annually once fully completed.
Phase one of the project involved building three berths, two ship-to-shore gantries, four rubber-tyred gantries and a container stacking yard. The new terminal will allow vessels with capacities of more than 6,000 TEUs to berth.
Supporting infrastructure such as access roads have been completed and there are plans to build a railway line that will be linked to the main line.
The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) said the new terminal would help accommodate the growing container cargo coming through Mombasa, and help handle transshipment cargo for neighbouring ports which have been struggling with congestion.
Total throughput at the port was 26.7m tons of cargo last year, compared to 24.9m tons handled in 2014, a 7.5% increase. Of that, 22.7m tons of cargo were imports while 3.5m tons were export commodities.
Almost all transit countries are increasingly using the port, the KPA said. Uganda has the biggest market share with its cargo through the port growing 8.2% last year, while Rwanda showed the biggest increase, with its cargo through the port up 23.7%.
Phase two of the project is expected to be completed next year, with the final third phase scheduled to be finished in 2020. The port will then have an annual capacity of around 2.5m TEUs.