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KPA denies ports privatisation claims

The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) Board of Directors Chairman Benjamin Tayari has allayed fears that the Ports of Mombasa and Lamu will be privatised.

The move followed alleged misinformation by a section of the media and Coast leaders that KPA is mulling privatisation of the port.

The KPA Chairman, however, said they have been reading newspapers about the purported port privatisation and that “some of the stories which are coming out are not true”.

“KPA is not doing privatisation; what we are doing is a concession. There is a big difference between privatisation and concession,” he said during a joint meeting between the KPA and KRA boards at the Port of Mombasa.

He explained that privatization means that they are giving away the port to be run wholly by a private investor.

“What we are doing is leasing out some of our assets to private investors to be able to bring more business to the port and generate more revenue for the country,” he said.

He added that the port is already making concessions in berth number four and seven, respectively, where Grain Bulk Handlers Limited (GBHL) and Portside are working.

The operations, Tayari said, can be undertaken by KPA, but the need to create more job opportunities and revenue necessitated the move to call for bidders.

“It’s not privatisation; there is nothing like that; this is totally different from the previous regime when they were dealing with Container Terminal Two (CT2),” clarified the KPA Chairman.

A section of Coast leaders had vented their opposition to KPA’s move to develop and operate some ports of Mombasa and Lamu assets through public-private partnerships (PPP).

On September 6, 2023, KPA Managing Director Capt. William Ruto invited sealed bids from eligible tenderers for the qualification of bidders for the development and operation of Port Assets through PPP.

Lamu Port Container Terminal Berth 1-3, Lamu Special Economic Zone Mombasa Port Berth 11–14, and Mombasa Container Terminal 1 are earmarked to be developed and operated through PPP.

By Sadik Hassan

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