The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has received four new cranes to boost the volume of cargo transported to Embakasi Inland Depot via the standard gauge railway (SGR).
The equipment is also expected to improve efficiency and enable the ports agency to load at least seven freight trains a day.
“With a monthly increase, we expect by December to hit 10 trains...The cranes have a capacity of 65 metric tonnes and have the latest technology, which uses electric power,” said KPA acting managing director Daniel Manduku.
Currently, seven trains cargo trains leave Mombasa for Nairobi daily. The rail mounted gantry cranes are crucial for loading and discharging rail wagons.
They are part of the six cranes the KPA ordered from China in December 2016 a cost of Sh2.12 billion. The other two, which were delivered in May, are operational.
“KPA continues to invest in equipment maintenance and acquisition to improve service delivery and customer satisfaction. We will ensure that the Port of Mombasa remains one of the best equipped in the region,” said Dr Manduku after he received the equipment, adding that the cranes will serve the SGR trains at the newly created loading zones adjacent to berth No. 11 to 14.
“The offloading of the equipment is usually a meticulous process thus we expect this exercise to take approximately 14 days to offload and pull to the RMG area, which is 200 metres from the berths,” said Dr Manduku.
The process, KPA said, is likely to interrupt normal operations.
“Therefore, efforts have been made to ensure sections of the terminal are left clear for traffic flow during the operation...The cranes will be commissioned in four weeks after completion of the offloading process,” he said.
Dr Manduku said plans to expand and modernise the Mombasa port are still on course.
“We are already witnessing positive results after acquiring one new ship-to-shore-gantry crane and 12 rubber-tyred gantry cranes between April and June, for the second container terminal,” he said.
“That explains the recent record performance in our container operations following the discharge of 3,872 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) in less than eight hours.”