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Government plans to open blue economy for local shipping lines

The government has announced plans to venture into cabotage regulations so that they can be able to open the shipping business to local investors.

Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Mining, Blue Economy and Maritime Affairs Salim Mvurya said that there has been low participation of local shipping lines in the shipping business.

Mvurya said although the business has been happening for many years and taking around 90 percent of trade, the Kenya shipping line still lags behind in securing a good place in the international shipping business.

He said there is a need to work on some regulations that are going to enhance the participation of local shipping lines in the business.

“Already we have maritime transport operators’ regulation which has gone through the required process, this regulation is going to open the business to local shipping lines but it is not enough thus the need to work on cabotage regulations,” said Mvurya.

Cabotage laws are used to restrict the operation of the sea, air or other transport services within or into a particular country to that country’s own transport services.

The CS said by passing regulations that favor local shipping lines, they can participate by taking cargo to Dar es Salam, Durban, and other places.

“To underline the importance of this decision, we will host an international cabotage conference in November where we bring on board key players in the region and agree together as Africa that we need to move to that direction so that we can inspire the shipping lines and other players who do their business in the Indian Ocean,” he added.

While addressing the media after a high-level meeting with the Board of Directors and top management at Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) offices, Mvurya said that the state is also going to work in handy with critical departments at the maritime sector to discuss very critical issues and priorities that will spearhead the government’s agenda.

He said part of what has been prioritized by the President is by being able to grow the economy of the country through the blue economy sector thus the need to identify key areas that the ministry needs to work on with KMA with some already ongoing to see the sector fully enabled.

He noted that the authority plays a critical role in regulating and enabling the blue economy business adding that through the Department of Shipping and Maritime, KMA is going to construct a Search and Rescue center in the lake region which will cost Sh.1.2 billion.

“We have already approved Sh.400 million for this financial year and we are planning to start with and then progressively we will continue to appropriate so that we have the facility. We will continue to provide support to KMA so that they can deliver on their mandate,” he said.

The CS added that there will also be several other centers in the country like in Mulukoba in Busia, Wishlum in Siaya, Dunga Beach in Kisumu, Sori in Migori, and Mbita in Homa Bay counties.

All these centers he said will help to give safety and security to the stakeholders in the lake regions.

The CS added that as part of the government’s commitment to build capacity, the president gave a directive that the Ministry train 2000 coxswains free of charge.

He noted that the training will commence in October and by the end of the year the first batch will have undergone the training.

Apart from the 300 certificates issued in Lamu during the President’s tour, Mvurya said that they have already processed 200 certificates that will soon be given out to the owners.

The CS also said the ministry has made a commitment through the Department of Shipping and Maritime Affairs to make sure they enhance efforts in strengthening the area of safety and security in the ocean.

“Going forward, boat operators and other stakeholders will be engaged to help make the blue space more secure.

By Chari Suche

 

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