Cargo volumes shrink by 15pc as coronavirus ravages source markets

Tuesday, April 14th, 2020 00:00 |
A ship transports containers with different cargo to Kenya. The country’s export into the region expanded by $100 million (Sh10 billion) to hit to $1.3 billion (Sh139.5 billion).

TRADE:  Cargo volumes at the Port of Mombasa reduced by about 15 per cent in March compared to 2019 as coronavirus continues to bite, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) operations manager William Ruto confirmed yesterday.

“Last month, we registered a drop of about 15 per cent in container traffic in conventional cargo, but we expect an improvement as China opens up its seas and goods start flowing in,’’ said Ruto.

He said that at the beginning of April, there was a significant improvement in cargo volume as more ships, mainly from China, started docking at the port. 

Grain ships

“We are expecting about eight ships today. Among them three carrying cargo, three grain ships, one transporting fertilisers and one bringing in oil.

The port is now full and we are anticipating a good turnover by end of the month,” he said.

Ruto said cargo disruptions from the US and India will be felt by end of May as by the time countries issued lockdown, many of the vessels were already on transit.

He said automation of processes had significantly reduced human interaction therefore, reducing the chances of the spread of the disease.

Four of KPA’s staff, including a private contracted service provider cleaner, have been diagnosed with coronavirus, with two succumbing to the illness.

By yesterday, about 25 employees had been quarantined at a Mombasa tourist hotel where they are under keen observation by the Ministry of Health.

“About 25 members of staff are quarantined at the Mombasa Beach Hotel after interacting with the two who tested positive,” he added.

More on Economy and Policy