Dar Es Salaam Port has surpassed Mombasa Port in a new ranking by the World Bank, posing a significant threat to Kenya’s economy.
According to the World Bank’s 2022 Container Port Performance Index (CPPI), Dar es Salaam has been ranked 312 out of 348 ports surveyed, while Mombasa dropped to position 326. This is a considerable shift from the previous year’s report, where Mombasa was ranked 296 and Dar es Salaam was at 316.
Kenya now finds itself at the bottom of the list among its East African counterparts, with Djibouti’s port (Ethiopia) ranking at position 26 and Berbera’s port (Somalia) at position 144.
The CPPI ranking employed two approaches: a technical approach based on expert knowledge and judgment, and a statistical approach using factor analysis. This was done to ensure the ranking accurately reflects the ports’ actual performance while maintaining statistical robustness.
The decline of Mombasa Port is attributed to tough competition from Dar es Salaam, as many transporters have shifted their routes to the Central Corridor instead of the Northern Corridor.
Transporters prefer the Central Corridor due to better road conditions and more favorable border charges and road tolls. The Central Corridor spans over 1,300km, connecting the Port of Dar es Salaam to Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. In contrast, the Northern Corridor stretches about 1,700km from Mombasa Port through Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and the eastern DRC.
Gilbert Langat, the CEO of the Shippers Council of Eastern Africa (SCEA), explained that more traders from Uganda and Rwanda are choosing to ship their goods through Dar es Salaam, leading to a decline in Mombasa’s market share.
Langat revealed that Mombasa’s share of goods to Uganda and Rwanda dropped from 75-80% in previous years to 63% in the last quarter of 2022, while the central corridor’s share increased to approximately 37% from a fifth previously.
The ranking by the World Bank highlights the changing dynamics in East Africa’s port industry, with Tanzania’s Dar es Salaam Port emerging as a formidable competitor to Kenya’s Mombasa Port. This shift has significant implications for Kenya’s economy, requiring strategic measures to maintain its position in the region’s maritime trade.