French shipping line expresses interest in Lamu port

Business & Finance Counties County Development Information Coordination Committee Editor's Pick Mombasa

French container transportation and shipping company CMA-CGM, the world’s third largest container operator, has expressed interest to invest in the new port of Lamu.

CMA CGM, based in Marseille France, is one of the leading carriers in the global container shipping industry using 257 shipping routes between 420 ports situated in 160 different countries.

The Vice President Africa CMA-CGM Ludovic Rozan disclosed this during a familiarization tour of the facility when he was received by the General Manager, Lamu Port, Eng. Abdullahi Samatar.

Rozan noted that the Port of Lamu was a good opportunity for a transshipment base.

“To be able to grow in Lamu port we need to grow in Mombasa port and therefore we expect the Kenya Ports Authority to give us a dedicated berth in Mombasa,” he added saying with such a facility, the shipping company would have a capability to operate 365 days in the region.

He explained that from the Port of Lamu, the shipping company would be able to handle transshipments to Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Somalia, Mombasa and even Mozambique.

“If you can help us in Mombasa, we are ready to help you here in Lamu,” he said.

The VP who was accompanied by the Managing Director CMA-CGM East Africa Jean-Baptiste Longin further said the shipping company has invested heavily in West and North Africa especially the successful port in Morocco but had nothing in the East African hub.

He said that he was positive about Kenya’s economic growth and the notable improvements of CMA-CGM in the country where he noted the shipping company has a market-share of 19-20 percent and at third position coming after Maersk and MSC shipping companies.

“Today, we are number three in the world, we are coming to Mombasa three times a week and in the next three years, we shall grow to become number two,” he added.

Rozan added that CMA-CGM is currently one of the most modern shipping companies in the world operating a fleet of 5000 Twenty Foot Equivalent Units (TEUs) to 23,000 TEU capacity vessels.

He said the fleets include Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) carriers which were modern and environmentally friendly vessels.

On his part Eng. Abdullahi Samatar hailed the visit by top officials of the CMA-CGM shipping company which he described as depicting investor confidence in the new facility.

He said that the concerns raised during the discussions would be escalated with a view to seeking mutual and favourable conclusions.

On port operations, Eng. Samatar said the recent arrival of two Mobile Harbour Cranes in addition to the two Rubber Tyred Gantry Cranes had boosted the new port’s capability of performing ship operations.

He said through the national Vision 2030 which aspires to provide cost-effective world class infrastructure, the government initiated the construction of a second commercial port in Lamu archipelago.

Eng. Samatar said the Lamu port is capable of accommodating larger vessels that currently ply international waterways such as the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea and is equipped with state-of-the-art cargo handling equipment.

He says the port of Lamu is envisaged to have a total of 23 modern deep-sea berths with a quay length of 400 metres each but that phase one of the project comprises three berths with the first already operational and the remaining two expected to be ready by end of October 2021.

He said preparations were in progress to receive the scheduled maiden call by  MV AMU 1 on Thursday (15th July) and CMA-CMB Spirit of Dubai on 21st July 2021.

Eng. Samatar says Lamu port has capacity to handle jumbo-sized ships with carrying capacity of between 12,000 to 18,000 twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEUs) ships.

Also present during the meeting were Deputy General Manager CMA-CGM East Africa Cluster Daniel Sepetu, KPA Senior Marine Pilot Capt. Geoffrey Namadoa and KPA Principal Operations Officer Patrick Makau.

By Hussein Abdullahi


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