While we have challenges in Mombasa I don’t entirely agree with the claim that Mombasa is on its death bed.
Tourism is doing great after many years of bad times . For the first time we have 21+ scheduled international flights ( Turkish. Qatar. Ethiopian. Rwanda ) into Mombasa and close to 15 charters from Europe including weekly flights from Brussels and twice from Amsterdam and 2 from Warsaw. Last time we had Brussels and Amsterdam flights was 10 years ago. Turkish alone connects Mombasa to 20 cities across Germany.
A tiny airstrip like Diani has jumped from handling 40,000 passengers less than 5 years ago to 200,000 + passengers in 2018 . It is now upgraded to an airport . Mombasa is now host to major conventions and a Convetion centre like Pride Inn Convention centre 2500 pax says it all while Sarova Whitesands are set to open a new convention centre as well.
The extended mourning period over the demise of CFS’s is wrong. *CFS’s was meant to be a very short term solution to the mess at the port of Mombasa to evacuate cargo .* This happened around 2003 / 4. Tragedy in Kenya is that temporary moves become permanent and we demand it.
Ideally CFS’s were meant to be out of town 20KM and help decongest the port . As usual with Kenyans CFS’s were opened at the gate of port making nonsense of the initial goal to decongest the port . Thanks to our corruption some players even got space right inside the port . Our current President finally smoked them out
Finally we ended up with one fine mess in Chagamwe and Port Reitz area. Never ending gridlock. That problem has now shifted to ICD at Embakasi making Mombasa road opposite GM the new Port Reitz. Trust me we don’t miss that mess in Mombasa nor does Nbi deserve it. Naivasha must work and let cargo move further to Naivasha and hopefully as planned onwards to Kisumu to its final destination. Every importer wants to have their container at shortest time possible . We have NO business detaining cargo in CFS’s when we now have a working rail system that can seamlessly transfer cargo from ship to train.
CFS’s was the epitome of inefficiency. Holding containers at a yard a few metres from the port is NOT a business model. We were simply feeding inefficiency and red tape. Sadly Kenyans are not generous with candor . Let’s be honest with each other.
Containers MUST be evacuated as soon as they land. We have no business detaining containers at a yard. What value do we add ? It is nothing but an added cost to the final consumer raising the cost of goods.
World over bulk cargo is ferried using trains and not trucks. If anything Kenya Railways did that so well in the 70’s until the railways was left to rot then Nairobi Mombasa highway was was neglected.
Having trucks parked at Mtito. Sultan Hamud. Gilgil etc just shows how inefficient we are. Seeing trucks all over is not a sign of progress. The carnage on Mombasa Nbi highway is now a thing of the past , ( touch wood ). Cargo evacuation via trucks will not be eliminated 100% but don’t demand return of CFS’s.
Well I like the authors ideas on what to do with abandoned CFS’s and of course fast track Dongo Kundu Economic zones.
Mombasa can now safely become a cleaner safer motorable city like any port city in the world. Let anyone show me a successful port city where trucks evacuate cargo.
Cheese has moved and the only constant in life is change. Mombasa is NOT dying , Mombasa is only opening a new page in its life.
As always I choose to remain an optimist
Kenya Tourism Federation.