New dawn as multi-billion dollar Lamu seaport becomes operational – Kenya News Agency
It is a new dawn as the country’s second multi-billion shillings commercial Lamu port after the port of Mombasa truly begins operations.
Hopes are high among maritime stakeholders, as the new strategic port which has already swallowed up 50 billion shillings of taxpayer money appears poised to claim its status as a major international transshipment center in the region.
Shipping experts say the awe-inspiring modern port of Lamu will catapult Kenya into the league of the world’s leading centers for transshipment and maritime trade.
Lamu Port, which will be operated by the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), will be the focal point of a huge regional transshipment center capable of handling goods transported by sea, rail, land and air.
It is expected to compete for transshipment activities with existing regional ports such as the Port of Durban in South Africa, the Port of Djibouti and the Port of Salalah in Oman.
President Uhuru Kenyatta inaugurated Berth No.1 and Container Terminal No.1 at Manda Bay in an elaborate ceremony on Thursday.
The Head of State witnessed the simultaneous unloading and loading of two ships and then presented the captain of the MV Cap Carmel with a first call certificate to end a historic day.
It was with fanfare when two giant ships dubbed MV Cap Carmel and Seago Line made their first stops at the new facility, setting the stage for Lamu to become a key global trade route.
The all new Lamu berths are designed to handle 30,000 deadweight (DWT) and 100,000 DWT, suitable for post-panamax vessels for general and bulk and container cargo respectively.
Interim Managing Director of KPA (MD) Ing. Rashid Salim called the inauguration of the Lapsset (Lapsset) transport corridor of the deep sea port codenamed Lamu South Sudan Ethiopia “ a boost for regional trade ”.
He says it is poised to be one of the largest ports on the continent in terms of vessel handling capacity and the tonnage of cargo that will be transported through the facility.
âThe new port also opens up the northern border counties of Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Isiolo and Marsabit to more commercial and economic activities through the creation of a new transport corridor,â he said.
He said the new port will widen the import and export corridor and develop markets for countries in the interior of sub-Saharan Africa.
The KPA MD states that Lamu Port should have a total of 23 modern berths with a quay length of 400 meters each.
The first phase of the project includes three berths, with the first already operational and the other two to be ready by the end of this year.
He said phase two will feature 16 berths, including three in bulk, three containers, six general cargoes, one in liquid bulk, one coal, one liquefied natural gas (LNG) and one petroleum product.
The final phase of Lamu Port will see the construction of four berths comprising a container and three general loading berths.
The new transport and economic corridor is expected to improve connectivity and facilitate trade between Kenya, Ethiopia, South Sudan and neighboring states.
LAPSSET is a flagship project of Kenya’s Vision 2030 and is expected to transform regional economies through increased trade, integration and interconnectivity between South Sudan and landlocked Ethiopia.
Eng. Salim said the newly inaugurated Lamu seaport is expected to begin full-scale operations when two more berths are put into operation before the end of the year.
“Work is being accelerated on stations 2 and 3 and should be operational by the end of the year,” he said, revealing that the construction of 23 additional stations in deep water is underway.
He said the new port of call developed by the China Communications Construction Company has already started operations on a limited basis and the growth potential is huge.
The MD said global shipping companies such as Maersk, an integrated Danish shipping company, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), COSCO (China Ocean Shipping Company) French shipping giant CMA CGM, among others, said their interest in the brand new port.
“We are delighted that these large shipping companies are providing a dedicated service for the new port, which will improve the level of service and port coverage for our customers,” he said.
He said the new port, built using superior infrastructure and equipped with modern and advanced port technologies, will allow shipping companies to carry out direct shipments, thus strengthening its position as a regional transshipment hub.
“We are confident that the newly opened seaport will become the connection point for larger ships navigating international waterways,” he said in an interview with KNA on Friday.
He added: “the new port has enormous potential for business as it is located right in the middle of the main shipping lanes for world trade.”
Engineer Salim said maritime transport is essential infrastructure for social and economic development, noting that the port of Lamu will give established regional transshipment ports a run for their money as it is a “ deep-water port capable of accommodating giant ships ”.
Eng. Salim noted that the new port will complement the existing port of Mombasa and facilitate import and export activities in the region and reduce the costs of doing business.
“It is good news for the shipping industry that the new port of Lamu will reduce traffic congestion at the port of Mombasa in the long term and help increase government revenues,” he said.
Eng. Salim says KPA is working closely with the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) and other relevant public agencies to offer incentives to shipping companies that dock at the new facility.
âAs KPA, we assure investors targeting the new facility that we will offer a free storage period of over 30 days and tax reductions to court shipping lines,â he said, adding that they pledged to make it more conducive to private sector participation.
Lamu Governor Fahim Twaha said the operationalization of the port will transform the medieval fishing archipelago into a modern port city.
Twaha said the decision to build Lamu Port has long been seen as a “ big gamble that has finally come to fruition. ”
âWe anticipate massive infrastructure development in the Lamu Archipelago as the new port opens up as a regional transshipment trade hub,â he said.
The county chief said the massive development of tourist hotels, international airports, oil refinery depots and a standard gauge railway line are all poised to germinate in Lamu, transforming the fortunes of local people. inhabitants of the island.
“The port will breathe new life into the Lamu archipelago and our young people will benefit from the direct and indirect jobs that will result,” he said.
By Hussein Abdullahi