Kenya - 2.1 Port Assessment

Port Assessment



There are about 15 ports in the country and most of these are undergoing expansion and renovation to meet global standards. The main ports are Mombasa, Lamu and Kisumu Port. The rest are classified as small ports 


Mombasa Port - Situated on the East African Coast, is not only the premier port of Kenya but the largest and the busiest port of the Eastern African region. Mombasa Port comprises the Kilindini Harbour, Port Tudor, Port of Reitz, and the Old Port plus the waters surrounding the island of Mombasa. The port has a total of 19 berths with a quay length of 4200 metres. Six berths are container terminals, 13 for conventional cargo, one crew ship terminal, 2 oil terminals and Mbaraki wharf and Old Port. The annual handling capacity of the port is 2.65 million TEU’s. It is managed and operated by the Kenya Ports Authority that also offers pilotage, docking, anchorage, stevedoring. Shipping, transport, and storage services are given by private enterprises.  


Port of Lamu - The Port of Lamu was commissioned in May 2021. It has 3 complete berths with a quay length of 1200 metres and when complete the port will have a total of 23 berths. KPA (Kenya Ports Authority) has deployed 5 mobile harbour cranes. Currently it has a warehouse that can accommodate 10,000 tonnes. There is a police station inside the port, KPA security and patrol by Kenya Defence Forces. KPA is also constructing a water desalination plant for use by port and serve surrounding community.  


Kisumu port - located in Kisumu County is critical in connecting Kenya, Mwanza and Bukoba in Tanzania and Port bell in Uganda through lake transport. It facilitates multimodal cargo transport from rail, road, and water. It handles both containerized and conventional Cargo as well as pedestrians. It has a capacity to handle 50,000 TEUs or an equivalent of 200,000 metric tonnes. It consists of a 352m long quay wall in an L-shape, and a draft of 2.5m to 3.5m. The port has a yard area of 58,428 metre square for handling TEUs and conventional cargo. KPA plans to increase the port capacity in line with the increase in cargo and passenger freight across the East African community. The port has recorded steady growth in the last 5 years following its rehabilitation by the government of Kenya in 2019-2023. Volume of cargo has grown 3,431 tonnes in 2017 to 54,014 tonnes in 2021 (grown 15 times) while the number of vessels docking at Kisumu Port has increased 7 vessels in 2017 to 77 vessels in 2021 (grown 7 times).  


Kilifi Port is situated on Kilifi Creek and has a boatyard. The port area is sheltered and has a bridge. It also offers marine services. KPA aims to develop it further and construct a dock for handling fish and build Luxury Marine Buildings plus 200 mooring points for all kinds of ships. 


Port of Mtwapa is a small port and receives smaller yachts and ships. Also, there is not much space for expanding this port. However, plans are underway to develop it further to make it a fishing port equipped with a fish landing facility.  

KPA is now constructing a land point for fish and some berths. 


Port of Shimoni is in Shimoni opposite Wasini island on the southern coast of Kenya. It handles about 10,000 metric tonnes of cargo and is the busiest of the small ports in terms of coastal trade. It has a dock, used primarily for fishing and tourism. It also has a deep and well-sheltered bay that can accommodate large ships. Currently KPA is constructing a new jetty to handle fish, general cargo, and passengers. 


Port of Malindi is located on the northern side, just 120 km away in Mombasa town. It has a dock that is in good condition however due to accretion, the breaking area has drifted to the fish handling part of the port. Its anchorage is 11 m to 12.2 m, and it can accommodate vessels measuring up to 500 m. This port exports cotton, sim-sim, and copra. It also serves the fish industry and has scope for expansion to revamp the dock to make it an efficient fishing port and a tourist spot, as the Malindi town is a popular tourism destination. Currently, the fish jetty handles about 1,250 MT (Metric Tonnes) annually and sees 8000 tourist vessels. KPA has also decided on expanding this port by acquiring an additional 2500 sqm of land area to construct administrative and office buildings, cold storage for fish, ice facility, fuel services, ship repair etc.  


Port of Kiunga is a dock near the Village of Kiunga that deals with 2500 MT of fish annually and coastal trade that comprises 1000 MT of cotton and coconut exports. This jetty has poor sea access, and the KPA is planning to take 20 acres of land to develop this port into an efficient fishing port that would boost the fishing sector. It also plans to dredge the water channel and construct another wharf that has easy access to the waters. The port would also have offices and buildings apart from a cold storage facility for keeping seafood. 

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