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Lamu Port receives first commercial ship, MV Amu 1 vessel

Container vessel MV Amu 1 has made history as the first commercial ship to call at the Lamu Port since operationalisation of the first berth by President Uhuru Kenyatta two months ago.

The vessel owned by Lamu Shipping Limited was laden with 62 full containers destined for transshipment for Jeddah Islamic Port (JIP) in Saudi Arabia with the consignment belonging to CMA CGM shipping lines.

Speaking to the press during the reception of the vessel at Kililana port, KPA’s Lamu Port General Manager Abdullahi Samatar, revealed that the ship’s consignment consisted of mixed cargo, mainly of agricultural produce.

He further divulged that the Lamu port expects to receive another vessel MV Spirits Dubai on Monday, which will pick the same cargo for transshipment to the Middle East and further on to Europe.

“The arrival MV Amu 1 signals Lamu Port’s readiness and openness to transact transshipment business and handle global logistics concerns based on the port’s competitive advantage in terms of geographical position and capacity to handle bigger vessels,” Samatar said.

The senior KPA officer further stated that deliberations are ongoing between KPA and other stakeholders to reach a consensus on reduced tariffs and tax rebates that will make Lamu Port an attractive logistics hub.

Engineer Samatar further stated that transshipment is the first line of Lamu Port’s business with KPA currently improving on the existing equipment that will aid shipping lines with much larger vessels and more cargo calls at the Port.

KPA cranes unloading first transshipment cargo at Lamu Port. Photo by  Amenya Ochieng

Sentiments echoed by KRA Coast Regional Commissioner Joseph Tonui who revealed that a 10-dollar transshipment fee has already been waived for all shipping businesses, with discussions ongoing among stakeholders to explore other tax break options.

Tonui further added that KRA has deployed clearance systems to enhance and guarantee efficiency and turnaround time at the new port.

“The Lamu Port is a capital-intensive investment that the national government has made with the vision to not only improve the country’s stake as a preferred logistics hub but also to create business opportunities all the way through the Northern corridor,” he noted.

“On its part, KRA has deployed the new ICM Customs systems at the port to ensure faster clearance of cargo and enhance turnaround time in a bid to further secure the port’s competitive advantage that will aid in pulling in new business for the port,” the KRA Regional Commissioner stated.

He expressed optimism at the government agencies capacity to ensure that those involved in the operationalisation capacity are glad to note that operations are going on smoothly and “we will continue working together to ensure our port attracts more business, “he said.

On his part, General Manager, Lamu Shipping Limited Dominic Mwashigadi, expressed satisfaction with the cargo handling operations at the port saying even the equipment deployed indicated that the port meets international standards.

He commended the Lamu Port’s turn around capacity in handling its maiden commercial vessel adding that Lamu Shipping Limited expects to partner with more shipping lines in future in transacting business at the Port.

“The signs are there that the Lamu Port will be a global logistical hub with shipping lines due to the port officials and other stakeholders’ willingness to adhere to best practices in cargo handling and transshipment that most shipping lines are on the lookout for,” Mwashigadi stated.

By Amenya Ochieng

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