Authority banks on technology and modern equipment to boost competitiveness

Sunday, October 20th, 2019 02:24 |

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) is banking on technology to improve efficiency at the Port of Mombasa.

The Authority says that in the wake of global cut throat competition, it has identified Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and deployment of modern technology as key areas that will be used to improve service delivery in the next one year.

It is expected that deployment of more efficient technologies will help the port in discarding redundant processes and achieving faster cargo handling capacity.

Managing Director Daniel Manduku says apart from acquisition of modern cargo handling equipment and operating systems, the Authority is replacing and upgrading some of its operating systems to improve operations, planning and monitoring and security.

“Our long-term progress and survival as an industry hinges on our ability to adapt to change by discarding redundant processes and incorporating faster and more efficient technologies. To continuously improve our services, we have identified areas that will be revamped in the next one year to improve service delivery,” he says.

Operating system

Among the systems being replaced is the Kilindini Waterfront Automated Terminal Operating System (KWATOS) which has been in use since 2005. The system will be replaced with a new Terminal Operating System (TOS) system.

“The focus is more on upgrading of our ICT system. Accordingly, we are in the process of implementing a new Terminal Operating System (TOS) in order to ensure total planning,operations, control and monitoring of terminal operation, however, we are still at the initial stages,” he says.

It is estimated that the port will handle 47 million tonnes in the next 10 years, from the current 30 million and eventually 111 million tonnes by 2047.

“This therefore underscores capacity expansion as one of the most crucial variable in port efficiency and cargo movement,” says Manduku.

The MD points out that the trajectory of the shipping industry shows there will be no slowing down due to rise in population which in turn is escalating the demand for raw materials and finished goods. Manduku says this has created the need for Kenya to remain responsive by focusing on appropriate investments and service activities.

Maritime industry experts opine that the shipping industry is experiencing growth. 

Population explosion

With the current population explosion in Africa and South-East Asia, bolstered by steady economic growth, Manduku says, the demand for raw materials and finished goods are escalating the emergence of new markets. Nigeria alone currently has a total population of 200 million people. 

“The Eastern Africa region which hosts the ports of Djibouti, Mombasa, Dar-es-Salaam and those in the Eastern board of the Indian Ocean has a combined population of about 540 million people. The question begging for answers therefore is, what is the implication of these developments in as far as trade facilitation is concerned?”

Further the year 2018 saw port all over the world experience trends including focus on sustainability and environmental conservation, port capacity expansion, adoption of ICT and new technologies, new emerging markets, alliances and mergers of shipping lines and growing containerisation among others.

Manduku also notes that global shipping logistics and maritime trade has over the last decade undergone extraordinary amounts of transformation. “As the supply chains grow to be more complex and multilayered, industry professionals have also been forced to go back to the drawing board to come up with new strategies and incorporate the emerging trends to fit into the new order,” he says.

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