* Cargo up due to improving world economy
* Port serves several other countries in the region
NAIROBI, July 25 (Reuters) - Container traffic through Kenya’s main Mombasa port, which also serves several other countries in East Africa, grew 24 percent in the first half of 2012, helped by improved cargo handling and a stabilising global economy, its operator said.
The traffic is usually an indicator of economic activity in the East Africa region.
The port handled 10.7 million tonnes of cargo over the first-half of the year, up from 9.3 million in the same period in 2011, Gichiri Ndua, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) managing director said in a presentation seen by Reuters on Wednesday.
“The growth in cargo volumes and hence the demand for services at the Port of Mombasa has grown progressively,” Ndua said.
Apart from Kenya, the port of Mombasa handles cargo to and from Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia.
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.
“There is need for capacity expansion,” Ndua said.
The east Africa nation also plans to construct a second port in Lamu, north of Mombasa, with a capacity of 23 million tonnes per year. (Editing by George Obulutsa and James Jukwey)