Strike at East Africa’s Biggest Harbor Disrupts Regional Trade

A strike by Kenyan dock workers at the port of Mombasa disrupted trade for five neighboring countries that rely on East Africa’s biggest harbor for their shipments of goods, the Kenya Ports Authority said.

Members of the Dock Workers Union stopped working on Wednesday because of a dispute over salary deductions to pay for a national-health insurance program, Gichiri Ndua, the managing director of the Mombasa-based authority, said in an e-mailed statement. The stoppage is unwarranted, he said.

“There is no trade dispute registered between the Dock Workers Union and Kenya Ports Authority,” Ndua said. “The strike is therefore uncalled for and has caused undue disruption to port operations. It has adversely affected business in Kenya and the entire region.”

Kenya is the world’s biggest exporter of black tea and Mombasa hosts one of the world’s largest auctions of the leaves. The harbor serves landlocked countries including Uganda, Africa’s top shipper of coffee, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

A separate strike by dock workers over a new biometric time-management system ended on Monday. The stoppage barred hundreds of trucks from entering or leaving the port.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal. LEARN MORE