In the latest Container Port Performance Index released by the World Bank, ports in Dar es Salaam, Djibouti, and Berbera have surpassed Mombasa in terms of efficiency. The main port in Kenya, Mombasa, experienced a notable decline in its ranking, dropping to position 326 out of the 348 ports evaluated worldwide in 2022. This represents a significant decrease from its position at 296 in the previous year’s report.
The efficiency of ports is determined by the time taken for a ship to complete its cargo exchange, from arrival at the port to departure from the berth. The World Bank emphasizes that efficient port operations play a crucial role in regional trade development.
The report acknowledges the progress made since 2020, when the marine industry faced reduced activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Martin Humphreys, the lead transport economist at the World Bank, highlights the vital importance of improving port efficiency in unlocking Africa’s economic growth and potential while also contributing to trade, commerce, and food security.
Tanzania’s Port of Dar es Salaam has emerged as a formidable competitor to Mombasa port in recent years, potentially attracting a significant portion of East African shipping traffic. In this year’s ranking, the Port of Dar es Salaam improved its position from 361 to 312.
Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) reveals that Mombasa Port witnessed a decline in cargo throughput for the first time in five years in 2022, possibly due to increased competition from Dar es Salaam. The total cargo handled by Mombasa Port decreased to 33.74 million tonnes in 2022, compared to 34.76 million tonnes in the previous year.
The Container Port Performance Index also recognized China’s Yangshan Port as the top-ranked port, despite facing disruptions caused by factors such as typhoons in 2022. Among the other ports assessed in sub-Saharan Africa, the Port of Berbera secured the 144th position, Djibouti ranked 26th, Port Elizabeth stood at 291st, Durban at 341st, and Cape Town at 344th.
These rankings serve as a reminder of the evolving dynamics in the region’s shipping landscape, with East African ports gaining prominence and presenting new challenges for Mombasa as they strive for greater efficiency and competitiveness.