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Focus on Dar es Salaam Port as Mombasa receives Tanzania cargo

The Port of Mombasa in Kenya has confirmed receiving and dispatching cargo destined for Dar es Salaam, home to Tanzania’s largest Port, in a move that will likely escalate competition between the two ports.

In a social media communication on March 6, 2024, the Port of Mombasa confirmed MV Jolly Giada ship had made her maiden voyage to offload 2000 TEUs (Twenty-foot equivalent units) comprising both local and transshipment cargo.

“35 percent of the 2000 TEUs offloaded from the MV Giada is bound for Dar-es-Salaam as transshipment cargo,” the communique reads in part.


“Mombasa has observed a rise in the number of initial calls to the port, with the growth credited to operational efficiency improvements that have led to decreased ship waiting time.”

The Ports of Mombasa and Dar es Salaam in Kenya and Tanzania respectively, which serve several countries in the region including South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo, Zambia, and Malawi, have been involved in fierce competition over customers in recent times.

Statistics show Mombasa handles about one and a half times more cargo compared to Dar es Salaam each year, prompting President Samia Suluhu’s administration to seek investors to expand the country’s main port and improve efficiency.

Kenyan authorities have in the past suggested that Tanzania has capitalised on the on-and-off political strife in Kenya to market the Port of Dar es Salaam as the viable option, even though Kenya’s Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen publicly denied there’s competition between the two ports.

“Both Mombasa and Dar es Salaam port are doing a good job but we are not in competition. The Mombasa Port looks up to the Port of Durban (in South Africa),” said Murkomen.

The move by Tanzania to dispatch some of its cargo to Kenya comes days after the management of the Port of Dar es Salaam denied social media reports that its workers had staged a strike disrupting cargo handling.

At the same time, media reports in December 2023 suggested congestion at the Port of Dar es Salaam had forced the diversion of ships to Mombasa.

With the growth of cargo headed into and outside the region, Kenya and Tanzania have commenced refurbishing the Ports in Lamu and Tanga respectively.

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