Berth 19 commissioned by EAC leaders
28 August 2013, 16:20
Mombasa - President Uhuru Kenyatta on Wednesday led regional leaders in commissioning berth 19 at the Mombasa Port.
The President said the government was determined to ensure port operations run smoothly.
"We are looking for efficiency in order to reduce trade barriers and to improve opportunities for our country," said President Kenyatta Wednesday.
"This port is critical to our region's development and commissioning of Berth 19 represents the pragmatic aspects of my government's commitment. It is my government's manifesto intention to turn the Port of Mombasa into the largest, busiest and most business-friendly sea-port on the East African coast," he said.
Uhuru said that the port is the gateway to the region and demands higher standards of integrity, efficiency, discipline and accountability to consolidate its role in the transport logistics chain of road and rail systems.
"We have no option. This is the call of our time. We are the custodians of the Gateway to East Africa. Our regional brothers and sisters depend on us to ensure that they never fall in want or suffer unnecessary inconvenience owing to inefficiency or corruption at this Port,” President Kenyatta said.
Road and railway upgrade
He said that the government was determined to upgrade road and rail links with neighbouring countries, starting with the building of a standard gauge railway from Mombasa to Malaba in order to increase rail freight from the current four per cent to at least 50pc in the next few years.
The colourful event was attended by Uganda President Yoweri Museveni and Paul Kagame (Rwanda).
President Museveni, who is the chairman of the East African Community, said the port was critical in assisting producers of goods and services in the region to access local and international markets.
He challenged regional states to unite in a bid to create a bigger market for regional products and services as well as consolidate their bargaining power with major global economies and trading blocs.
He praised President Kenyatta’s efforts to remove non-tariff barriers such as roadblocks and corruption resulting in faster movement of goods, people and services between Kenya and Uganda.
President Kagame said improvements at the Port would foster trade and investment in the East African region.
The 240-metre long new berth is expected to boost container handling operations and increase capacity at the Port.
The commissioning of the berth was part of activities of a two-day infrastructure conference in Mombasa.
The Summit is a follow-up of the 1st Conference held in Uganda in June, 2013 and aims at taming spiralling business costs and concerns over huge projects lagging behind schedule.