Lamu port eyes more trade as Sh40bn phase one complete


Operations inside the Lamu Port in Lamu County as the fifth cargo ship with 100 ships is received on 21st August 2021. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG

The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has intensified engagement with shipping lines and cargo owners to use the Lamu port after the completion of the first three berths and yards.

The authority is discussing with traders to come up with tailor-made proposals and understand specific customer requirements to design incentives including promotional tariff for the port.

The Port of Lamu, which has been conducting transshipment, has so far handled nine vessels and a total of 1,619 twenty-foot equivalent units (Teus) since operationalisation in May this year. It will also open customs warehouse in January 2022.

Since May this year, the port has been using berth 1 with a yard capacity of 4,320 total ground slots with a stack-height capacity of 17,280 Teus.

The first three berths have an optimal annual capacity of 1.2 million Teus with an average dwell time of four days.

The completion of the Sh40 billion first phase of the port this month is now giving Kenya opportunity to float a tender to private companies to construct 20 more berths under public private partnership to complete the 23-berth facility.

On its Twitter handle, Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) said, "the first three berths and yards at the Port of Lamu are now complete with plans to begin operations at berth 2 and 3 next year.

KPA is acquiring modern equipment including three mobile harbour cranes and a ship to shore gantry cranes to complement operations at the Port."

Phase 1 of the project involved construction of three berths and associated infrastructure. Each berth has a depth of 17.5 metres and is 400 metres long.

The three berths are designed to handle container, general and bulk cargo.

In May, President Uhuru Kenyatta inaugurated the first berth at the port with most of the equipment including cranes, trailers, gantries, forklifts, spreader and oil spill response borrowed from Mombasa port.

Since then, lack of sufficient yard operation equipment has forced Lamu port to only attract ships that have their own gear for operations, ro/ro ships and motor vehicle carriers.

KPA acting managing director John Mwangemi said discussions are underway with global shipping lines and potential investors to work on 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.

Mr 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.

"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," said the MD.

In September this year, KPA announced it's intentions to borrow Sh15 billion to complete the construction of the first phase of Lamu Port.

The KPA had put out an expression of interest seeking financing from local and international lenders for the operation of their first three berths.

KPA has provided a breakdown that shows Sh5 billion going towards the purchase of yard operations equipment, Sh4.5 billion towards general equipment, security and ICT installation, Sh2.9 billion in completing the construction works and Sh2.8 billion in marine equipment.