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Covid-19: KPA gets Sh10m boost in virus fight

Sunday May 31 2020
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Kenya Ports Authority and Maersk officials in Mombasa port recently. PHOTO | POOL | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By VICTOR RABALLA

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has benefited from Sh10.6 million worth of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) as it seeks to sustain its operations to keep essential supply chains moving across the Kenya and neighbouring countries.

This will see the virus-hit KPA enhance efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus at its key installations.

Speaking when he received donations worth Sh10.6 million of PPE from shipping company Maersk KPA chairman Joseph Kibwana said the agency will ensure its frontline staff continue to offer important services to keep essential supply chains moving across Kenya and neighbouring countries.

CRITICAL ITEMS

To compliment government’s efforts, Maersk-one of the biggest users of the Port of Mombasa- has so far supplied KPA with critical items, ranging from hand sanitisers, protective face masks, disposable overalls, disposable medical gloves and infrared thermometers.  

 “We are grateful for this kind gesture by Maersk, these items will go a long way to ensure our workers are protected as they discharge their duties,” said Mr Kibwana when he received the consignment.

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Maersk’s East Africa Port captain Sharon Delphine said the firm is committed to continue supporting the Port of Mombasa, in a bid to ensure business continuity.

As part of the donation to the East Africa’s largest port, Ms Delphine said another batch of the donation including 12,000 pieces of protective face masks is expected to arrive from South Africa in a few weeks.

KPA says it has rolled out strict mandatory procedures for ship crew and vessels, to ensure the disease is not exported in the course of carrying out maritime trade.

The measures that include enforcement of sanitisation and social distancing protocols as well as screenings.

According to (Rtd) General Kibwana the measures have proven effective because since the advent of the pandemic, no ship crew has been found to be positive with the virus.

PANDEMIC

At the initial stage of the global pandemic in Kenya, back in March, tens of KPA staff in Mombasa got infected- necessitating drastic measures by the national government, which included a gradual downscale of workers.

Due to the adverse effects of the global pandemic, the government was forced to downscale its operations after a number of workers in Mombasa got infected when the disease was reported in Kenya.

Meanwhile, the port has since received containership Ono, a pioneer vessel from the recently launched Jeddex line of the CMA CGM group- a French container transportation and shipping company.

COOPERATION

The new service line will offer a direct service between Kenya, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Somalia by deploying four dedicated vessels on a weekly basis.

“At the moment, the Port handles an average of 34 million tonnes as total throughput a year and container traffic of 1.4 million Twenty Feet Equivalent Units.

"As KPA, we look forward to more cooperation with a view to supporting efficiency and business growth,” KPA acting Managing Director Rashid Salim said during the launch of the new service.

Exports from Mombasa will benefit by connecting to the Global Network via Jeddah offering transit times to European hubs -Genoa in 20 days, Rotterdam in 27 days, Fos-sur-Mer in 26 days and Antwerp in 33 days.

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