Kenya - 2.1.1 Port of Mombasa

Port Overview 

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, 6 container berths, 13 general cargo berths and one cruise ship berth. 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 326th of the top ranked container world ports and overall 28th in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Port website: Website of the Kenyan Ports Authority 

Port Location and Contacts 




Province or District 

Mombasa County 

Town or City (Closest location) with Distance (km) 

Name: Mombasa 

km: 3km 

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 

Capt. William K. Ruto/ MD 

Closest Airport and Frequent Airlines to / from International Destinations 

Airport Name: Moi International Airport 

Airlines: Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, Air Uganda,  


Google map Port of Mombasa


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 & Border Control Department)- KRA/C&BC, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS), the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (KEPHIS), the National Biosafety Authority (NBA), Port Health Services and the Anti-Counterfeit Authority (ACA) amongst others.  

For more information on port contacts, please see the following link: 4.4 Port and Waterways Companies Contact List.

Port Performance

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 (TEUs): 2018 -2022 



Port Throughput (‘000’) :2018 - 2022 


This positive trend of 2.3% 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 highest draft is 15m which is sufficient to handle Panamax size vessels.  

The storage capacity the port can handle is about 48,000 TEUs at any one point. 

In the last 7 years the port has not experienced congestion following the below measures: Fixed berthing window arrangement which programmes vessels calling port of Mombasa for berth on arrival.  

  1. Expansion of the stacking area capacity at the port by opening the second container terminal 

  1. Acquisition of additional modern handling equipment 

  1. Recruitment of dockers has been ongoing and currently the port has 600 dockers which is sufficient to work on the vessels. 

  1. SGR extends up to berth 1. 

  1. Automation - use of e-citizen for booking 

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 available on “need be basis”. In such instances, it is important that the port management is adequately sensitized to facilitate.  

Port bottlenecks exist by way of. 

  1. System breakdown e.g., ICMS by KRA 

  1. Inadequate Seals - Regional Electronic Cargo racking System (RECTS) 

  1. Harmonising 24-hour operation with other agencies. 

Number of vessels calling port of Mombasa in 2022 was 1,561 with total.   

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: 

Kenya Mombasa Port Additional Information 

Berthing Specifications 

Type of Berth 


Length (m) 

Maximum Draft (m) 

Conventional Berth 



11.5 - 12.5 

Container Berth 


13.5 - 15 

Silo Berth 




Number Berthing Tugs 



Water Barges 

1 + other privatised 



Kipevu Oil Terminal (KOT) 



Old KOT 




  • Some of the conventional berths can and are used to berth container ships that are self-accentuated / have handling gear (cranes) such as berths #5 - #11 and #12 

  • 2 of the berths are used for berthing passenger ships while 2 handle bulk grain carriers such as berths #1 and #2. 

  • The conventional berths are therefore mostly multipurpose. 

For further information on Berthing Specifications, please select the following document: 

Kenya Mombasa Port Additional Information 

General Cargo Handling Berths 

Cargo Type 

Berth Identification 

Imports - Bagged Cargo 


Exports - Bagged Cargo 




Imports and Exports - RoRo 

1, 2 

Other Imports 

Mbaraki wharf 2 berths 

For further information on general cargo handling berths, please select the following document: 

Kenya Mombasa Port Additional Information 

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 

Container Gantries 


45mt ship to shore – 16 

45mt rubber tyred – 48. 

40mt rail mounted - 8 

In active use 

In active use 

In active use 

Mobile Cranes 



35mt – 2 

50mt – 4 

60mt - 2 

80mt - 1 

Harbour mobile crane - 7 

All in active use 

Reach stacker 


45mt – 27 

Empty container handlers - 12 

All in active use 

RoRo Tug master (w/ Trailer) 


Terminal tractors - 6 

All in active use 

Grain Elevator w/ Bagging Machines 






1.5 – 3mt – 9 

5mt – 9 

10mt – 3 

16mt – 13 

20mt – 1 

25mt - 6 

All in active use 


Container Facilities 

The port has 6 container berths with 1,400 metres length of seafront and 4 of these berths have ship to shore gantry cranes for discharge while 2 of them are for container ships with their own gear. Three of the conventional berths can be used for the container vessels.  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.  



20 ft 

40 ft 

Container Facilities Available 



Container Freight Station (CFS) 



Other Capacity Details 



Daily Take Off Capacity (Containers per day) 

2,000 - including TEU's and FEU's 


Number of Reefer Stations (connection points) 

795 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 2,650,000TEU’s per annum.  

Customs Guidance 

Customs clearance formalities start with shipping line lodging ship’s manifest with customs immediately before departure from the last port of call. Upon approval of manifest by customs, the Clearing agent can lodge an entry in the ICMS system for a consignment within the ship. The consignment is inspected by various relevant regulatory agencies and released by customs online after payment of the various duties. If exempted from duty, for exempted consignment approval is done online before final release. Upon clearing with customs, the agent proceeds to settle port charges and release consignment with KPA. 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 2 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 

Terminal Information 

Multipurpose Terminal 

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 2019, GBHL handled a total tonnage of 2,700,000 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 
• Interglobal 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.  

Storage Type 

Number of Storage Facilities 

Area (square meters) 

Bagged Cargo 



Refrigerated Cargo 

General Cargo 




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.  

Hinterland Information 

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 65%, and the rest by rail - SGR and MGR (Refer to contact list for available road transport companies).  

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 destination in the hinterland. 


Port Security 

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 several 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. 



ISPS Compliant 

(Yes / No) 



Current ISPS Level 

Level 1 = Normal, Level 2 = Heightened, Level 3 = Exceptional 

Police Boats 


Fire Engines 





Jump to top