Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has received four new cranes in bid to increase volume of cargo transported to Embakasi Inland Container Depot (ICD) through the Standard Gauge Railway.
The four are part of six cranes KPA ordered from China in December 2016 at a cost of Sh2.12 billion. The other two were delivered in May this year.
“With a monthly increase we expect by December to hit 10 trains daily. The cranes have a capacity of 65 tonnes and have the latest technology which uses electric power,” KPA’s acting managing director Daniel Manduku said.
Currently, seven cargo trains leave Mombasa for Nairobi daily.
The rail-mounted gantry cranes are crucial for loading and discharging rail wagons.
“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,” Mr Manduku said.
Speaking while receiving the equipment on Friday, Mr Manduku said the manufacturer took 14 months to build the cranes and one month to ship them from China to Kenya.
The cranes have a span of 35 metres and each costs Sh345 million.
“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 rail-mounted gantry (RMG) area which is 200 meters away from the berths,” said Mr Manduku.
KPA engineers have made plans for temporary rails to be laid from the berths to the RMG area to facilitate pulling of the cranes.
The process, according to KPA, is likely to interrupt the normal traffic flow at the terminal.
“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’ times after completion of the offloading process,” Mr Manduku said.
Mr Manduku said KPA’s quest for the expansion and modernisation of the port is 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 this year for the second container terminal,” Mr Manduku said.
In the same period, KPA also acquired additional 28 new terminal tractors.
The acting KPA boss assured stakeholders there will be improved performance at the facility.
Similarly, the official said conventional cargo operations have also seen tremendous improvement.
Trade Mark East Africa assisted the KPA to acquire two ultra-modern diesels electric harbour mobile cranes valued at Sh868million.
The cranes are capable of working two vessels at a time unlike the old ones, and they are specifically built for environment-friendly operations.