November 20, 2012 / 5:51 PM / in 5 years

Kenya's Mombasa port increases cargo-handling tariffs

MOMBASA, Kenya, Nov 20 (Reuters) - Kenya’s port of Mombasa said on Tuesday it plans to increase cargo-handling tariffs by 10 percent to match a rise in container traffic at east Africa’s main trade gateway to several other countries in the region.

The last time East Africa’s hub port increased its tariffs was in 2007, which shipping companies resisted, leading to a delay in the implementation until 2008.

The port operator expects the increases this time around to be accepted following consultations with shippers in the region.

“We were careful to engage every interested party and accommodated their views as we set the new tariffs so we should not have a problem adjusting to the new rates,” Gichiri Ndua, the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) managing director, told Reuters.

The growth in cargo volumes and rising demand for services had led to the increase at the port, which handles imports such as fuel, tea, coffee and consumer goods for Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia.

The increase would affect marine services, stevedoring, shore handling and storage services among other general services, and Ndua says it will raise the ports annual revenue by 5 percent to 26 billion shillings ($303.65 million).

Container traffic at the port grew 24 percent in the first half of 2012, helped by improved cargo handling and a stabilising global economy to 10.7 million tonnes of cargo.

The port has improved since increasing the tariffs five years ago, including plans to build a $21.4 million security system to safeguard it from emerging threats of Somali pirates in the Indian Ocean.

$1 = 85.6250 Kenyan shillings Reporting by Joseph Akwiri; editing by James Macharia and James Jukwey

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