By The Coast Newspaper Correspondent.
The construction of phase II of the second container terminal is expected to kick off soon following Parliament’s approval of a Sh27.3 billion loan set to fund for the mega project.
President Uhuru Kenyatta announced on Saturday that the government has signed an agreement with the Japanese government for construction of the second phase at a cost of Sh32 billion.
The expansion project is aimed at improving efficiency at the Port of Mombasa, according to President Uhuru.
Speaking during the commissioning of the first phase of the terminal, which cost Kenya Sh30 billion, Uhuru said the government will continue to invest in infrastructure and modernization of the port facilities to spur growth both in the country and entire East African region.
Kenya Ports Authority is expected to pay the first Sh30-billion loan over a 40-year period, which according to KPA chairman Major (Rtd) Marsden Madoka, is enough time.
The loan from Japanese government will be disbursed through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The first phase of the project has a capacity of 550,000 Total Equivalent Units (containers), which will raise the port’s container handling capacity to 1.6 million TEUs.
Speaking during the commissioning of the first phase, President Uhuru added that Kenyans ports are poised to play a more integral role in trade facilitation following the discovery of oil and gases in the country and in the region.
“The new container terminal commissioned today can handle the fourth generation vessels that have capacity to carry over 6,000 TEUs,” said Uhuru.
The President also noted that the port of Mombasa plays an important role in the development of the country and a lifeline to the regional economies that depend on it for a significant number of their imports and exports.
“To give an example: the port’s transit traffic to the East African region increased from 7.2 million tonnes in 2014 to 7.7 million tonnes in 2015—an 8.2 per cent growth,” he said.
Deputy President William Ruto who was also present commended Uhuru for his commitment to the expansion and modernization of the port that has scaled up its efficiency.
“The personal commitment of the President has ensured the efficiency that we are witnessing at Mombasa Port,” said Ruto.
National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich said the port of Mombasa is now ranked the fifth best in Africa as a result of its improved efficiency.
Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho expressed appreciation for the heavy investments of the national Government in the port of Mombasa.
“These kinds of investments are what Kenya need to continue grow its economy,” said Joho.