Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Saturday, dispatched two new giant Rubber Tyred Gantries (RTG) cranes and scanners to Lamu Port ahead of its operationalisation next week.
The newly built Port of Lamu code-named Lamu South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) corridor will receive its maiden cargo vessel on May 20, 2021 when operations officially kick off at the mega port.
LAPSSET is an ambitious Kenya Vision 2030 flagship project and is expected to transform regional economies through increased trade, integration and inter-connectivity spanning South Sudan and landlocked Ethiopia.
KPA mechanical engineering staff loaded the equipment aboard a special barge at the second container marine terminal destined for Lamu ahead of the official port launch.
The new ultra-modern gantries will strengthen the stevedoring capacities of the new Lamu Container Terminal in Manda Bay developed by the China Communications Construction Company.
Geoffrey Namadoa, a senior KPA Marine Pilot, told the press at the KPA Headquarters in Mombasa that the barge is expected to arrive at the Lamu Port site, Monday May17, 2021 to discharge her load.
Engineer Namadoa said the new equipment will serve to improve the productivity and operations at the second commercial port in Lamu.
“The new equipment will boost the container storage capacities of the yards in Lamu and help improve flows across all operations by increasing the pace of deliveries and reducing handling times for goods,” he said.
He said modern equipment will be shipped in piecemeal as commercial activities peak which will improve the efficiency of container handling at the new port.
The Engineer said two jumbo-sized ships christened MV Seago Bremerhavel from Mombasa loaded with avocados for export and MV Cap Carmel from Port of Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania loaded with assorted cargo are lined up as the first ships to dock at the brand-new Lamu Port.
Eng. Namadoa said two weeks ago KPA dispatched terminal tractors, skeletal trailers, forklifts, low-bed trailers, spreaders, lifting equipment gears, rail chains and channel buoys which are critical to the port operationalisation.
The senior KPA marine pilot said the new commercial Lamu seaport will boost the country’s competitiveness and bolster trade in Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan and beyond.
Eng. Namadoa also said already 100 new KPA employees drawn from the County of Lamu are currently undergoing orientation at the Port of Mombasa, awaiting deployment in Lamu.
He said maritime experts contend that the grandiose modern Port of Lamu will catapult Kenya into the league of key global transshipment and maritime hubs.
The Engineer said the new Port will perform the role of anchoring economic growth in Kenya and serving as a gateway to Eastern and Central Africa and the entire continent.
“Already established global transshipment and maritime hubs such as the Port of Salalah in Oman and the Port of Durban in South Africa among other critical ports along the Indian Ocean have taken keen interest in the upcoming Lamu port,” he said.
The soon-to-be unveiled Lamu Berths are designed to handle 30,000 Deadweight Tonnage (DWT) and 100,000 DWT for general and bulk and container cargo respectively.
Eng. Namadoa said the new Lamu Port will give the established regional transshipment ports since it’s a deep-water port capable of accommodating jumbo-sized ships.
“Already excitement is in the air among maritime stakeholders ahead of the opening ceremony of the new Port which has the capacity to handle post-panamax ships from the global shipping lines,” he said.
Namadoa said once the 32 berths for the Lamu Port is completed as planned it will be larger than any other port in Sub-Saharan Africa and could handle containers travelling to and from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Democratic Republic of Congo.
He said the mega Port will position Lamu as an important regional transshipment hub, poised to handle crude and refined oil and oil products from South Sudan and has the potential to impact on the livelihoods of the people of Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan.
By Hussein Abdullahi