Japan lends $270 mln to Kenya to help expand Mombasa port
17 January 2015, 08:02
Nairobi - Kenya signed a $270 million loan deal with Japan on Friday to help expand capacity at Mombasa port, a busy facility that is the main trade gateway to east Africa.
The port handles fuel, consumer goods and other imports for Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia, as well as regional tea and coffee exports.
Container traffic through the port reached about one million twenty foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2014, up 11.9 percent on a year earlier. The port management said it expected a 30 percent increase to 1.3 million TEUs in 2015.
Officials said the loan would support the purchase of cargo handling equipment, help finance a brand new container terminal and aid construction of another terminal already being built. Japanese Ambassador Tatsushi Terada was at the signing.
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Neighbouring states and regional firms have been putting pressure on the Kenyan authorities to improve handling and efficiency in the port as trade to and from the region grows.
Kenya has long had plans for a second container port further north on its coast, in the Lamu area, but the project has faced repeated delays.
Neighouring Tanzania, to Kenya's south, is also working on making its Dar es Salaam port more efficient and plans another container terminal, adding competition in the region.
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