Counties Transport and Infrastructure

KPA acquires modern habour cranes to improve operations

MV Biglift Barentsz arriving at the Kilindini channel in Mombasa to discharge the equipment at Berth No. 21 at the Second Container Terminal. Photo: KNA

The Port of Mombasa has acquired sophisticated equipment that will enhance trade flows in the East Africa region. Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) received one new giant Ship to Shore (STS) gantry crane and eight Rubber Tyred Gantry (RTG) cranes to boost efficiency and bulk handling activities.

The arrival of the new state-of-the-art cranes is good news for shipping lines in the region as the premier port would be able to handle volumes more efficiently. Observers say the acquisition of the new machines will allow the port to attract and accommodate jumbo-sized container ships.

KPA General Manager, Engineering Services, Eng. Rashid Salim who received the equipment said this was the first consignment of the four (STS) and 12 RTGs ordered from Japan at a total cost of Sh. 6.68 billion. Eng. Rashid said the new arrivals brings the total number of RTG cranes at the facility to 46 and STSs to 13 stating that the handling and movement of containers will be more efficient.

He revealed that four more RTG habour cranes will be delivered in May bringing the total to 50 thereby boosting the competitiveness of the port. “The other three STS cranes are under construction and will be delivered in 2021 bringing the total of STS cranes to 16” he noted.

The KPA official noted that the cost of one STS is Sh947 million while each RTG costs Sh185 million. He said the new equipment will be deployed at the second container terminal to service larger container vessels and load and unload a wide range of heavy general cargo.

The equipment comes at a time when KPA is undertaking massive infrastructural developments and port capacity expansion projects aimed at improving operational efficiency. Eng. Salim said the acquisition of the gantries was expected to increase productivity at the port and enable the country to maintain its competitive edge as one of the leading transshipment ports in the East and Central Africa region.

The new STS main features include; capacity to lift two 20 foot containers in one move, safe working load (65 tons), ability to handle ships up to 18 containers (45 meters across), advance crane monitoring system while the RTG has a hybrid power system which results into improved fuel efficiency of up to 50 percent and reduced carbon emissions.

It also has an advanced crane monitoring system, automatic steering and is also installed with accurate container load weighing system. The first phase of the second container terminal with an annual capacity of 550,000 TEUs was completed at a cost of Sh.28 billion with plans at advanced stages for the beginning of the construction of the second phase.

Once phases 2 and 3 are complete, the total capacity of the terminal will be 1.5 million TEUs, raising the Port’s total container handling capacity to 2.65million TEUs by 2025.

Eng. Salim said the acquisition of KPA’s equipment is part of the Mombasa Port Development Programme for the second container terminal financed by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

The programme highlights the need to place people first, while addressing the negative impacts occasioned by port operations as well placing a premium on technology-rich and sustainable port operations.

The recent capacity expansion including initial dredging of the port channel, berth construction, upgrading of equipment and ICT Systems has given the Port of Mombasa a competitive advantage.

The port is currently the deepest in the region and can accommodate panamax container ships of up to 8,000 TEUs as the shipping industry is shifting towards larger vessels.

KPA is also dredging the navigational and anchorage basins, and installing modern navigation aids to allow access of post panamax vessels which has enabled the port to handle bigger vessels.

The Port serves over 33 Shipping Lines that call regularly and provides connectivity to over 80 seaports worldwide.

In 2015, one of the largest ships MV Clemens Schulte docked at the port. The vessel, spanning a length of 255 meters and 37.5 meters wide, with a capacity of 5,466 TEUS offloaded 1,710 TEU’s and loaded 3,505 export containers.

In 2016 and 2017 other large vessels MV Ital Mattina and MV Ever Delight with a total length of 264 and 294 metres have since docked at the port of Mombasa.

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