Container traffic through Kenya's biggest port grew by 12.8 percent in the first six months of the year after new cargo handling infrastructure was built to shorten the turnaround time for ships.
The Indian Ocean port of Mombasa, the biggest in east Africa and the region's trade gateway, handles fuel and consumer goods imports as well as exports of tea and coffee from landlocked neighbours such as Uganda and South Sudan.
Gichiri Ndua, the port's managing director, said in a statement on Wednesday the total cargo at the port rose by 12.8 percent to 11.9 million tonnes from 10.5 million tonnes in the January to June last year.
Container traffic increased by 11.5 percent to 463,920 TEUs (Twenty foot equivalent units) this year from 415,948 TEUs.
The port is seen as a measure for economic activity in east Africa as it handles imports for Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia, and exports of tea and coffee from the region.
The volume of goods destined for neighbouring countries also increased, rising by 9.6 percent to 3.53 million tonnes after the opening of a new berth at the port in August last year, with Uganda and Rwanda bringing in more imports.
Kenya is building a $300 million second container terminal at Mombasa to handle increased trade within the region, driven by a sharp growth in construction, vast infrastructure development and an emerging middle class.
The east African nation also plans a second port in Lamu, north of Mombasa, with a capacity of 23 million tonnes per year.
(Reporting by Joseph Akwiri; Editing by James Macharia and David Evans)