Key port information can also be found at:
Mombasa is located on the east coast of Africa approximately midway between the South African Port of Durban and major ports in the Red Sea and the Middle East. It is Kenya’s and indeed East Africa’s biggest and busiest seaport.
The port is the main gateway to East and Central Africa serving a vast hinterland of more than 120 million people in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Eastern DRC, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia and Northern Tanzania
- The Port of Mombasa has a length of 7 nautical miles, a width of 300 m and a maximum depth of 15 m
- The inner harbour has a tidal range of 3.5 m
The main port currently has 19 berths comprising of 1 bulk grain terminal, 2 oil terminals/jetties, 4 container berths and 12 general cargo berths. Recent investments in modernising handling equipment, dredging of the main entrance channel and widening of the turning basin has enabled larger, modern post panamax vessels to call at the port. The port is currently ranked 117th of the top ranked container world ports and 5th in Africa.
Port website: Website of the Kenyan Ports Authority
Port Location and Contacts
Province or District
Town or City (Closest location) with Distance (km)
Name : Mombasa
Port's Complete Name
Kilindini Harbour, Mombasa
Managing Company or Port Authority (If more than one operator, break down by area of operation)
Kenya Ports Authority
Management Contact Person
Mr. Gichiri Ndua / MD
Closest Airport and Frequent Airlines to / from International Destinations
Airport Name: Moi International Airport
Airlines: Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Air Uganda,
Description and Contacts of Key Companies
Mombasa port is managed by the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) who own and operates the port facilities. The port includes Kilindini Harbour, Port Reitz, Port Tudor, the Old Port and the whole of the tidal waters encircling Mombasa Island. The port authority exclusively provides pilotage, tug, mooring, dockage, buoyage, anchorage, security, stevedoring and shore handling services within the port. Other services such as Shipping, Clearing & Forwarding, Transport and Storage are performed by private companies (contact list below).
There also exist other Government authorities in the port engaged in revenue collection and enforcement of standards. These are the Kenya Revenue Authority Customs Service Department, (KRA/CSD), the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS), the National Biosafety Authority (NBA), Port Health and the Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA) amongst others.
Cargo throughput at the port of Mombasa has been rising over the years driven by the corresponding growth of its captive hinterland economies.
Container traffic (TEU’s)
This positive trend has necessitated the port authority to focus on several initiatives aimed at increasing efficiency and effectiveness of its services. The initiatives have been amongst others decreasing dwell times of consignments, increasing speed of discharge/loading by modernising equipment, increasing size of ships calling the port through dredging and widening of the turning basin etc.
The current channel depth is 15m with berths at 13.5m sufficient to handle Panamax size vessels. Congestion normally occurs due to seasonal issues (tabulated below) but has in the recent past been well anticipated and handled. Berthing is strictly on first come, documents ready basis with priority granted to Oil tankers, Containers ships, bulk carriers and other conventional ships in that order. In times of on-going and known humanitarian crises, priority berthing, labour and equipment is availed on “need be basis”. In such instances, it is important that the port management is adequately sensitized in order to facilitate.
Port bottlenecks exist by way of;
• Limited berths for specialised services (e.g., 1 bulk grain discharge terminal)
• Limited manual labour (mainly affecting labour intensive conventional loading/discharge operations).
• Slowed discharge/loading operations, reduced turnaround time of trucks etc. during rainy season.
• Correct documentation for on time clearance.
• Stretched local shunting trucking capacity in times of peak demands.
• Average waiting time has been contained to an average of 2.5 days in the last 5 years.
Yes / No
From <month> to <month>
March – May, October - December
Major Import Campaigns
Dilapidated conventional handling equipment e.g. shores cranes.
Throughout the year depending on which berth allocated.
Shortage of labour especially on weekends or holidays for Conventional ship operations.
Container Traffic (TEUs)
Handling Figures Bulk and Break Bulk
Break bulk (MT)
Discharge Rates and Terminal Handling Charges
Link to relevant tariff/rates web page:
For detailed information on Discharge Rates and Terminal Handling Charges at the Port of Mombasa, please select the following document:
Type of Berth
Maximum Draft (m)
10 – 13.5
10 – 13.5
Some of the conventional berths can and are used to berth container ships that are self-accentuated / have handling gear (cranes). 2 of the berths are used for berthing passenger ships while 2 handle bulk grain carriers. The conventional berths are therefore mostly multipurpose.
For further information on Berthing Specifications, please select the following document:
General Cargo Handling Berths
Imports - Bagged Cargo
Exports - Bagged Cargo
Imports and Exports - RoRo
Mbaraki wharf 2 berths
For further information on general cargo handling berths, please select the following document:
Port Handling Equipment
Port equipment is procured, managed and replenished by the Port Authority. The port Authority has a fully-fledged Engineering department led by a General Manager Engineering reporting to the Managing Director. The department has several sections within it such as Marine, Automotive, Mechanical, Electrical etc.
(Yes / No)
Total Quantity and Capacity Available
Comments on Current Condition and Actual Usage
5mt – 3
7mt – 1
15mt - 1
In a dilapidated state and often malfunctioning.
45mt ship to shore – 7
45mt rubber tyred – 22
40mt rail mounted - 2
In active use
In active use
In active use
25mt – 1
35mt – 1
50mt – 2
75mt – 1
Mobile harbour cranes - 3
All in active use
45mt – 19
Empty container handlers - 5
All in active use
RoRo Tugmaster (w/ Trailer)
Terminal tractors - 95
All in active use
Grain Elevator w/ Bagging Machines
1.5 – 3mt – 10
5mt – 6
10mt – 6
16mt – 4
20mt – 1
25mt - 3
All in active use
For a detailed table on operational port cargo equipment, please select the following document:
The port has 6 container berths with 1,204m length of seafront. 4 of these berths have ship to shore gantry cranes for discharge while 2 of them are for container ships with own gear. The container berths are backed up by a container terminal stacking yard of 197,000m². Other stacking yards spread across the port may be used for stacking spill over containers from the container terminal. These have a total area of 57,916m².
Container Facilities Available
Container Freight Station (CFS)
Yes, 670 - including TEU's and FEU's
Refrigerated Container Stations
Other Capacity Details
Daily Take Off Capacity (Containers per day)
670 - including TEU's and FEU's
Number of Reefer Stations (connection points)
120 connection points
Emergency Take-off Capacity (Give an indication)
Off take capacity of gang shift (in Containers per shift)
The existing container terminal was designed to handle throughput of 250,000TEU’s per annum but its capacity has since been surpassed. Construction of berth 19 provided an additional stacking capacity of 200,000 TEU’s per annum. This additional capacity is envisaged to see the port through to the medium term.
Construction of a second container terminal is underway since 2013 with the 1st phase planned for completion by 2015 envisaged to add to the port capacity 450,000 TEU’s. At full completion of the new terminal, the port will have a total capacity of 1.2million TEU’s.
For information on containerised cargo, containerised cargo handling charges and shore handling types please select the following document:
Customs clearance formalities start with shipping line lodging ship’s manifest with customs 48hrs to ship arrival. Upon approval of manifest by customs, the Clearing agent is able to lodge an entry for a consignment within the ship. The entry is released by customs online after payment of the various duties. If exempted from duty, original exemption letter must be verified physically by customs at port before getting final release. Upon clearing with customs, the agent proceeds to settle port charges and release consignment with other regulatory authorities. Once completed, the port gives a “Pick up Order”/PUO which is effectively the gate pass to allow cargo exit from port. The whole clearing process takes on average 3 working days hence possible to have all clearance in place by time of ship arrival to facilitate direct delivery upon discharge.
For additional customs information, please see the following link: 1.3 Kenya Customs Information
Various berths within the port can be regarded as multipurpose. E.g. berth 1 and 2 serve Cruise and RORO ships while berths 5, 11 and 12 serve conventional and container ships with own gear.
Grain and Bulk Handling
Grain and Bulk Handling at the port is done either through;
• Grain Bulk Handlers Limited (GBHL) vide conveyor from port to silos outside port.
• Conventional bagging vide grabs onto bagging plants alongside ship and to trucks.
The Grain Bulk Handlers Limited (GBHL) is a private company which commenced operations in 2000. It owns and operates a specialised terminal for handling bulk grain imports and is the sole operator for mechanical bulk grain handling at the Port of Mombasa.
In 2013, GBHL handled a total tonnage of 1,504,000Mt. The highest ever quantity handled was 2,082,000mt in 2009 and is the largest bulk grain handling terminal in Africa.
A key feature of the GBHL facility is that the storage silos are located outside the port area allowing easy access for trucks with a minimum of road congestion.
• Total storage capacity is 245,000mt.
• Discharge is through 2 or 3 Buhler Port lines onto a modern conveyor system which transfers grain from the ship hatch to the silos.
• Discharge rate is max 600mt per hour and 12,000mt pwd.
• The terminal has bagging and bulk rail and road loading facilities together with weighbridge.
Conventional grain bagging is mainly done when there is a long list of ships lining up for the GBHL berth terminal hence waiting time and demurrage not deemed economical. In most circumstances, this has been left for bulk fertilizer shipments and for grain shipments of relatively small quantity (<7,000mt). The main companies operating conventional bagging are;
• Multiport International
• Nectar Group
• Interglobe Services (agent for Portserve International)
These 3 companies pool together equipment and among them have 12 bagging plants (each with 2 lines) and 8 grabs
Main Storage Terminal
The port is backed up with storage facilities located out of port. Storage inside port is discouraged through punitive costs and customs regulations. The port has also over time knocked down sheds to create container stacking grounds. However, some warehouses are still available alongside the main quay and back of port.
Number of Storage Facilities
Area (square meters)
Stevedoring activities in port constitute discharge and loading activities for containerised, loose/break bulk, bulk liquid grain etc. The port authority offers all stevedoring activities except for bulk grain and liquid discharge/loading activities where specific operators have been licensed to offer the service.
Goods are only released out of port after payment of all port dues, customs duties and when they meet other import conditions ascertained by other Government regulatory agencies. Exit from port and onwards into the hinterland is mainly by rail or road. There is more reliance on deliveries by road over 90%, due to decreased capacity of rail, run down infrastructure and rolling stock. (Refer to contact list for available road transport companies). In order to speed up evacuation from port to deter demurrage and punitive port storage charges, cargo is also shunted ex-port by trucks onto warehouses or transit yards out of port from where it is then dispatched either by road or rail to its final destination in the hinterland.
For further information on storage facilities and bagging - grain handling, please select the following document:
Kenya has implemented the maritime security requirements contained in Chapter XI-2 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea 1974 and the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code through the Merchant Shipping Bill 2004 and the Maritime Security Regulations 2004. These regulations apply to all seaports in Kenya and passenger ships, cargo ships of 500 GRT or more and mobile offshore drilling units on international voyages
Security Level 2 applies in Kenyan territorial waters and seaports. Any change of security level or its area of application will be communicated by notices to mariners, navigational warnings, circulars, VHF communication or any other appropriate means
Port Security in Kenya has been tightened considerably following the events of 11 September 2001 and the sharp rise in terrorist incidents worldwide and lately in Kenya. Until recently KPA was concerned mainly with cargo security. But now in common with other port authorities around the world KPA is focusing its attention on the security of everyone visiting its ports and using their facilities
KPA has introduced a number of measures to make the port a safer place for business which includes:
- New electronic surveillance equipment including CCTV
- A fully fledged police station within the port headed by an Officer Commanding Police Division/OCPD Port.
- Coastguard surveillance of waters in port area
- New search and rescue centre set up jointly with the IMO to supplement sea surveillance
- Plain-clothes and uniformed security officers on patrol in port areas
- Strict controls on port entry with all port users and visitors required to display biometric passes and to weigh reflector jackets when accessing the quayside.
- Restricted entry to container terminal and other key sections such as oil terminals.
- Continuously manned watch towers in car handling area and container terminal
- A rapid response team to deal with urgent security matters in or near the port area
- A centralised verification area at the container terminal, car handling area and the CFS
- Physical and electronic operated Barriers at port gates to deter forced entry and ensure proper security checks.
- Mandatory scanning of all export containers.
- Random targeting of import containers for scanning without stripping – thus helping to reduce pilferage.
(Yes / No)
Current ISPS Level
Level 1 = Normal, Level 2 = Heightened, Level 3 = Exceptional