NAIROBI, Sept. 13 (Xinhua) -- Kenya's port of Mombasa experienced an 11.9-percent increase in traffic in the first seven months of 2017, compared to the same period last year, officials said on Wednesday.
Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Managing Director Catherine Mturi-Wairi told a business forum in Nairobi that from January to July, the port handled a total of 17.52 million tons, up from 15.66 million tons registered in the corresponding period of 2016.
"The overall positive growth compared to last year's was largely driven by increased import volumes," Mturi-Wairi said during the annual KPA stakeholders' forum.
In 2016, the East African port handled a total of 27.36 million tons of cargo, up from 26.73 million tons handled in 2015, realizing a favorable growth of 2.4 percent.
"We expect the port performance to increase in 2017 over 2016, despite the extended electioneering period," she said.
In terms of container traffic, KPA also registered an increase of 66,806 Twenty Four Equivalent Units (TEUs) or 10.7 percent, after registering 689,593 TEUs between January and July of 2017 against 622,787 TEUs recorded in the corresponding period last year.
"This performance compares favorably against the global average growth rate of four percent per annum," Mturi-Wairi said.
The managing director noted that in the first seven months of 2017, export traffic increased slightly by 36,094 tons or 1.7 percent to post 2,182,232 tons from 2,146,138 tons handled in the corresponding period in 2016.
"The slight increase was supported by expanded volumes of coffee, tea, vegetables, fruits and juices exports," she added.
The port authority said that import traffic experienced a 12.1 percent increase between January and July to record 14,803,838 tons in the last seven months, compared to 13,209,720 tons registered last year.
"The increase in imports was driven by dry bulk commodities like wheat, clinker, palm and vegetable oil, and refined petroleum products," she added.