Shipping & Logistics

Traders bank on new Lamu port to reduce logistics costs

lamu-ship

A ship docks at Lamu Port during the official launch by President Uhuru Kenyatta. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • Stakeholders in logistics have expressed optimism about the opening of the Lamu port for business last week, saying it will reduce cost of doing business.
  • The first consignment of goods has already been shipped through second Kenya’s commercial port.

Stakeholders in logistics have expressed optimism about the opening of the Lamu port for business last week, saying it will reduce cost of doing business.

The first consignment of goods has lready been shipped through the second Kenya’s commercial port.

Shipping agents and trading companies have promised to support the port as other key infrastructure projects within the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) corridor project are implemented.

Kakuzi PLC, a Kenyan agricultural company trading on both the Nairobi and London stock exchanges, which celebrated the commissioning of the new Port of Lamu with an inaugural 80-tonne cargo of avocados destined for France, said it will continue to use the facility in exporting its major products abroad.

Fresh avocados grown at the Kakuzi PLC Makuyu orchards were part of the cargo loaded on Ship MV Seago Bremerhaven which docked at the Port of Lamu en-route France.

Kakuzi Managing Director Chris Flowers said the launch of the port provides wider benefits for agribusiness firms that import farm inputs and export produce.

“As a truly Kenyan agribusiness firm, we are excited at the operationalisation of the first berth at the Port of Lamu. This development begins to crystallise the Lappset corridor project, which will benefit Kenyan producers immensely and congratulate the government and the Kenya Ports Authority among the other development partners for this milestone,” Mr Flowers said.

Danish Shipping Line, Maersk, the first to make a maiden call at Lamu Port, said it will offer solutions and services centered around “our customers’ needs and they will be making regular call at Lamu and serve the people of Eastern Africa”.

“Maersk is honoured to have a maiden call at the Port of Lamu as part of the inauguration and is poised to support our customers in their future growth within Kenya and for over three decades Maersk has been providing ocean liner services to and from Kenya,” said Maersk Eastern Africa Managing Director Carl Lorenz.

“In 1978 we supported the Port of Mombasa with a maiden vessel call and now in 2021 will support Lamu with a maiden vessel call with the Cap Carmel for the inauguration.”

Maersk, Mr Lorenz said, considers Kenya an important partner and fully supports the Kenyan government’s endeavours in the development of shipping, maritime, ports and logistics, “effectively contributing to the growth of the economy”.

The Kenya International Freight and Warehousing Association ( KIFWA) national chairperson Roy Mwanthi said they are ready to work in Lamu.

Lamu Shipping Line company CEO Captain Twalib Khamisi said they have set base in Lamu since 2017 and opening of the first berth will give them more motivation to do more business internationally.

“We have our vessels and now we are ready to support in ferrying different materials to ensure the port and other infrastructure are completed on time. We are here and we hope the business will boom in the next few years,” said Captain Khamisi.

Kenya Ships Agents Association chairperson Sylvester Kututa said they are ready to use the facility and are optimistic that many ships will be interested in using the facility considering its many advantages.

“This is a port which can be used to feed other ports starting with Mombasa port and other nearby facilities such as Dar es Salaam port. Shipping agents have started liasing with other shipping lines to ask them to use the facility considering the incentives offered,” said Mr Katutu.

Already 19 shipping agents have visited the facility and expressed satisfaction with the development of the project.