Kenya Ports Authority officials have expressed optimism over the prospects of Lamu Port emerging as the regional transshipment hub following the successful shipment of cargo to Jeddah Islamic Port (JIP) from Zanzibar Port.
The first milestone cargo consisting of 62 full transshipment containers destined for Jeddah Islamic Port (JIP) in Saudi Arabia was on last week brought by MV AMU1, as the first transshipment consignment at the Port of Lamu.
Speaking to the media during the reception of the transshipment vessel MV Spirit of Dubai at Kililana area of the Lamu Port, KPA Acting Managing Director (MD), John Mwangemi, stated that the first transshipment cargo marks the start of the Lamu Port’s diversification in addressing the country and the region’s growing logistical needs.
“Lamu Port is set to play a crucial role not only in addressing global logistical needs regionally, but will aid in playing a part towards growing the country’s blue economy agenda,” Ambassador Mwangemi stated.
The Acting MD further reiterated that discussions are underway with global shipping lines and potential investors to work on potential incentives that will make Lamu Port a popular transshipment hub.
“The demand for global transshipment is there and our focus as KPA is to ensure that we continue to bring in modern equipment that will aid in enhancing turnaround time of cargo handling at the Lamu Port,” he stated.
Ambassador Mwangemi further revealed that there are plans to bring in new Ship to Shore gantry equipment within the next three months, to enhance cargo handling at the Port.
He further revealed that KPA would also acquire three (3) Ship to Shore (STS) gantry equipment and 18 rubber tired gantry cranes in efforts to further modernise the Port.
“We expect more transshipment business in the coming months, especially with the successful shipping of this initial cargo to Saudi Arabia,” Lamu Port General Manager, Abdullahi Samatar, also stated.
He further stated that the Lamu Port has a competitive edge in comparison to other ports regionally by virtue of its size and its ability to handle any ship size.
Lamu Shipping Limited, Chief Executive Officer, Captain Twalib Khamis, commended KPA for working towards ensuring that besides the Lamu Port having attractive transshipment incentives such as waived taxation on transhipment goods, works towards ensuring its modernization is also ongoing.
“Global logistics is a growing sector, which the Lamu Port can tap into by way of its geographical advantage regionally to serve its landlocked neighbours in Ethiopia and South Sudan,” Captain Khamis said.
He further noted that with Lamu Port being the biggest regional port currently, the potential to attract shipping lines is a convenience to many shippers most of which are looking for modern ports with better turnaround time.
“The potential for job creation is there with 1 large ship able to create jobs for at least 150 trucks, and that is where the Lamu Port can be a big winner for all logistics stakeholders along the Northern Corridor,” Captain Geoffrey Namadowa, Senior Marine KPA Captain also noted.
CMA/CGM Deputy General Manager, Daniel Sepetu, who are the agents of the transshipment cargo stated that with the pilot trial transshipment of cargo to Saudi Arabia being a success, more shippers are bound to get attracted to use the Lamu Port.
“There is a need to grow not only the transshipment business but also to enhance the import and export sector, that Lamu Port has the capacity to handle with the availability of three ready berths,” Sepetu added.
By Amenya Ochieng