Daniel Manduku
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Port banks on its digital plan to win more cargo trade

Port banks on its digital plan to win more cargo trade

Containers at the port of Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) is banking on digitisation of its key services as it seeks to sharpen its competitive edge. KPA managing director Daniel Manduku said the authority is aware of the fast evolving new era for the global ports operations and management, hence the need for the authority to keep pace with the rest of the ports in the world.“One of the key drivers of change has been the shipping industry which is continuously changing through innovations and new inventions. The ship sizes have grown, with possibilities of further creation of larger vessels,” he said during the launch of the authority’s five-year strategic plan for between 2018-2022 in Mombasa.The 20,000 TEU vessels became a reality and soon we expect even bigger vessels of up to 50,000 TEU capacity,” he said.He added: “KPA is alive to the fact that ports must keep up with changes. Smart and green port operations, sustainable infrastructure development and innovative funding options, are among the newer areas of focus.”The MD further told shipping players that emerging technologies in the industry are transforming operations, citing artificial intelligence, internet of things, big data, block chains, port information platforms, as well as remote container and equipment monitoring.“These innovations are being piloted in various ports globally and are already institutionalised in some,” Mr Manduku noted.In addition, he said, challenges of cyber security and the rapid development of e-commerce are also real and “need to be addressed holistically”.

He said some of the key developments in the ports industry include multimodal transportation and containerisation of world terrestrial and maritime trade, bringing synergy between ports and free trade zones.The launch of the strategic plan was attended by Transport and Infrastructure CAS Chris Obure and Transport assembly committee chair David Pkosing.In the strategic report, KPA says that the connectivity of road, pipeline and rail networks outside the port area is inadequate. This, the authority said, requires an urgent attention in order to enhance cargo evacuation and “smooth fluidity” outside the port.

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