In its latest report on the world’s most efficient ports, the World Bank has said that the port of Mombasa has been overtaken by Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam port posing a threat to Kenya’s economy.
The report, the 2022 Container Port Performance Index (CPPI), has ranked the largest port in East Africa at position 326 against Dar es Salaam which was ranked 312 from a total of 348 ports used in the survey.
This is a big contrast from the 2021 CPPI report which placed the port of Mombasa at 296 and Dar es Salaam at 316.
Kenya now ranks last against her East African peers after the port of Djibouti (Ethiopia) ranking at position 26 and the port of Berbera (Somalia) sitting at 144.
The criteria used in the ranking employed two methodological approaches; a technical approach reflecting expert knowledge and judgment and a statistical approach, using factor analysis (FA).
The rationale for using the two approaches was to try and ensure that the ranking of container port performance reflects as closely as possible actual port performance, whilst also being statistically robust.
The port of Mombasa has been on a downward trend due to stiff competition from Dar es Salaam.
This is attributed to the change of routes for many transporters moving their goods into the country and other regions as many now prefer the Central Corridor to the Northern Corridor.
Many transporters say that road conditions in the Central Corridor are better, and also prefer the border charges and road tolls.
Stretching over 1,300km, the Central Corridor begins at the Port of Dar es Salaam into Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The Northern Corridor stretches about 1,700km from the Mombasa port through Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the eastern DRC.
Shippers Council of Eastern Africa (SCEA) chief executive Gilbert Langat said that the number of traders from Uganda and Rwanda opting to ship their goods through Dar es Salaam is gradually increasing due to the change in routes.
“Currently, there is competition between northern and central corridors. The share of Mombasa Port of goods to Uganda and Rwanda has already shrunk from 75 to 80 per cent in previous years to 63 per cent in the last quarter of 2022,” Langat told Business Daily.
“That means central corridor (Dar es Salaam) is now doing about 37 per cent [of regional cargo volumes] from about a fifth previously.”