Key port information can also be found at: Website of the Maritime Database on Mombasa Port 

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 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

Mombasa County

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

Name : Mombasa

km: 3 km

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

Ms. Catherine Mturi / Ag. 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

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.

There are also 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), among others. 

For information on contact details, please see the following links:

4.1 Kenya Government Contact List 

4.4 Kenya 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 (TEU’s)







Total throughput(‘000’DWT)







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 among 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 15 m with berths at 13.5 m 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 a 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 ongoing 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:


Seasonal Constraints

Yes / No

From <month> to <month>

Rainy Season


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.


All weekends/holidays

Handling Figures




Vessel Calls




Container Traffic (TEUs)




Handling Figures Bulk and Break Bulk




Bulk (MT)




Break bulk (MT)




Discharge Rates and Terminal Handling Charges

For information on discharge rates and terminal handling charges at the Port of Mombasa, please visit the Kenya Port Authority Customer Center

Berthing Specifications

For more information on berth specifications at the Port of Mombasa, please visit the Kenya Port Authority Berths, Wharves and Jetties website.

Type of Berth


Length (m)

Maximum Draft (m)

Conventional Berth



10 – 13.5

Container Berth



10 – 13.5

Silo Berth




Berthing Tugs



Water Barges




Some of the conventional berths can and are used to berth container ships that are self-accentuated / have handling gear (cranes). Two of the berths are used for berthing passenger ships while two handle bulk grain carriers. The conventional berths are therefore mostly multipurpose.

General Cargo Handling Berths

Cargo Type

Berth Identification

Imports - Bagged Cargo

1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Exports - Bagged Cargo

1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13

Imports and Exports - RoRo

1, 2

Other Imports

Mbaraki wharf 2 berths

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 of Engineering, who reports 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

Dockside Crane


5mt – 3

7mt – 1

15mt - 1

In a dilapidated state and often malfunctioning

Container Gantries


45 mt ship to shore – 7

45 mt rubber tires – 22

40 mt rail mounted - 2

In active use

In active use

In active use

Mobile Cranes


25 mt – 1

35 mt – 1

50 mt – 2

75 mt – 1

Mobile harbour cranes - 3

All in active use



45 mt – 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 – 3 mt – 10

5 mt – 6

10 mt – 6

16 mt – 4

20 mt – 1

25 mt - 3

All in active use

Container Facilities

The port has 6 container berths with 1,204 m length of seafront. Four of these berths have ship to shore gantry cranes for discharge while two of them are for container ships with their own gear. The container berths are backed up by a container terminal stacking yard of 197,000 m². 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 57,916 m². 


20 ft

40 ft

Container Facilities Available


Container Freight Station (CFS)


Refrigerated Container Stations


Other Capacity Details

Daily Take Off Capacity (Containers per day)


Number of Reefer Stations (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 250,000 TEUs per year but its capacity has since been surpassed. Construction of berth 19 provided an additional stacking capacity of 200,000 TEUs per year. 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 TEUs. At full completion of the new terminal, the port will have a total capacity of 1.2 million TEUs.  

Customs Guidance

Customs clearance formalities start with the shipping line lodging the ship’s manifest with customs 48 hrs prior 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, an 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

Terminal Information

Multipurpose Terminal

Various berths within the port can be regarded as multipurpose. For example, berths 1 and 2 serve Cruise and RORO ships while berths 5, 11 and 12 serve conventional and container ships with their own gear. 

Grain and Bulk Handling

Grain and Bulk Handling at the port is done either through:

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 1,504,000 mt. The highest ever quantity handled was 2,082,000 mt 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.

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 are not deemed economical. In most circumstances, this has been left for bulk fertilizer shipments and for grain shipments of relatively small quantity (<7,000 mt). The main companies operating conventional bagging are:

These 3 companies pool equipment together and among them have 12 bagging plants (each with 2 lines) and 8 grabs.

For more information, please visit the Grain and Bulk Handlers Ltd. website

Main Storage Terminal

The port is backed up with storage facilities located out of the port. Storage inside the 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 (>90%) due to decreased capacity of rail due to run down infrastructure and rolling stock. Refer to the 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.

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 worldKPAis 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:


ISPS Compliant
(Yes / No)


Current ISPS Level


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

Police Boats



Fire Engines