TradeMark East Africa (TMEA) with support from the UK through the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Government of Kenya through the National Treasury signed a USD 30 Million agreement to support the dualling and improvement of the existing Port Reitz and Moi International Airport access roads. The project will be implemented by the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA). The Port Reitz Road is crucial as it will provide the only link to the new Container Terminal pending the completion of the Mombasa Southern By-pass project. The signing ceremony was presided over by Cabinet Secretaries Hon Eng. Michael Kamau (Transport) and Hon Henry Rotich (National Treasury) and TradeMark East Africa’s Mr Frank Matsaert (CEO).
The agreement will see TradeMark East Africa contribute USD 20 million to the project, whilst the Government through KeNHA will give USD 10Million of the additional costs. Access to the new terminal will decongest the existing container berths at the Mombasa port which are currently operating at almost full capacity.
Port Reitz Road will reduce truck operating costs along the transport route, to and from Kipevu West Container Terminal. It will also reduce the time it takes to enter and exit the port gates by opening up the new gate 22 serving Kipevu West. This will accommodate approximately 30% of the traffic from the existing terminal.
Speaking at the launch, Cabinet Secretary for the National Treasury said:
This access road is one of many efforts by the Government to boost economic growth through infrastructure development. We recognize that in order to achieve substantial economic growth and reduce poverty in the country, we need to continue looking for similar ways to open up our markets to other parts of the region such as this.
The Cabinet Secretary also commended TradeMark East Africa for its commitment and partnership with the government of Kenya in supporting key projects which will help the government to achieve its vision 2030 targets.
Transport Cabinet Secretary Eng. Kamau said:
The signing of the financing agreement between KeNHA and TradeMark East Africa is a milestone to the facilitation of the movement of cargo along the Northern Corridor. This road will provide greater access and bring efficiency to operations in the port. The project is set to reduce the costs of doing business, boost trade volumes and more importantly increase our overall competitiveness in infrastructure as a country.
The Port of Mombasa has over the years recorded significant growth in traffic volumes. In the last 10 years, traffic increased more than 6% per annum to 22.3 million tons in 2013. Container traffic grew faster on average by more than 8% p.a., rising to nearly 900,000 TEU in 2013 from 438, 597 TEU in 2004. KPA projects that the Port will handle 1,650,000 TEU by 2016.
Matsaert while reiterating the significance of the project to TMEA said:
The Port Reitz Road is among many projects that TMEA is spearheading to enhance trade environment in the region since East Africa has amongst the highest freight and transport costs in the world. These costs seriously erode the marginal competitiveness of goods exported by East African countries, reducing trade, economic growth, job creation and poverty reduction.
The CEO further recognised the role played by its development partners and in particular, the United Kingdom DFID who are supporting this particular project.
Lisa Phillips, the head of DFID- Kenya while highlighting the UK’s support to the government of Kenya said:
The UK government is committed to supporting Kenya’s growth and poverty reduction efforts in line with Vision 2030. Through UKaid, we are extending an additional US$5m (Kshs 450 million) to further scale up the work that TMEA is undertaking at the port of Mombasa and along the Northern Corridor; and specifically, to support the expansion and improvement of the Port Reitz – Airport Road. This is a critical road and this support will complement existing projects, benefit the population of Mombasa, and reduce the cost of goods to millions of EAC residents.
The access road will provide for dual carriageway, 7 metre wide on each side, with 1 metre wide median. We will also make improvements of traffic Intersection including installation of traffic lights and grade separated junctions as well as road signs and markings. The project is set to be completed by December 2016.
Currently, the present gate arrangements (at other gates) provide for a turnaround time of 4 hours for container carrying trucks. It is expected that this will be reduced to two hours at Gate 22 through increased gate lanes, fully automated gate processes and streamlined controls and procedures for entry and exits.