Transit cargo at the Port of Mombasa contracted by five percent in the last quarter of the financial year 2020/2021 on the back of reduced freight to regional countries.
Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has attributed the negative performance on transit cargo to a drop in handling of freight meant for Uganda and Rwanda at the facility.
This comes at a time when truckers have been grappling with low volumes of cargo at the Port in recent months, which saw freight charges between Mombasa and Kampala drop by 17 percent to $2,000.
“During the period under review, there was a decline in transit traffic, which dropped by 269,000 tonnes having registered 4.73 million tonnes in 2021 against 5 million recorded in 2020,” said KPA.
In June, Kenya Truckers Association (KTA) said 40 percent of the trucks were out of business as a result of low cargo to haul from the port.
However, the chief executive officer of KTA Dennis Ombok said there has not been much improvement in terms of cargo movement since June.
“The situation has not changed that much since June because a good number of our trucks are still parked at the moment for lack of enough cargo,” Said Mr Ombok.
The cargo business had started picking in the period between October-December 2020, where the port realised improved performance as it recovered from the effects of Covid-19.
According to KPA, the total throughput within this period not only recovered, but also surpassed the forecasted target by 2.8 percent and 1.2 percent against 2019/20 performance.
Data from KPA indicated container traffic dipped by four percent to 1,359,579 twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2020, from 1,416,654 TEUs recorded in 2019.
KPA said the marginal decline was attributed to global lockdowns that disrupted business after countries around the globe imposed lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the economy is reflected in the 2020 port performance which was also 2.8 percent less than the forecasted target," KPA said last month.
Kenya’s authorities say the Moyale One-Stop Border Post (OSBP) remains operational despite the ongoing political upheavals in Ethiopia that have seen the country announce a state of emergency. A customs official in Kenya’s northern region said the border point with Ethiopia has not been officially closed and that business is going on as usual.
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