KPA plans tariff cuts for Lamu port

Operations inside the Lamu Port in Lamu County.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) plans to review tariffs for Lamu port next month as it eyes to woo regional governments to the new facility, targeting bigger cargo.

The new rates are expected to be more attractive to the port users to increase its throughput from 37,576 metric tonnes handled in 2023 where a total of 36 vessels docked at the facility.

KPA managing director William Ruto said the authority is willing to offer lower tariffs while maintaining efficiency.

Mr Ruto said with the arrival of Sh4.1 billion ship-to-shore (STS) gantry cranes from China last week, the port is now capable of handling three ships at any time.

“We shall review the tariffs according to our stakeholders' suggestions to maintain the existing clients and attract more port users,” said Mr Ruto.

This month, Kenya and Ethiopia constituted a joint technical committee (JTC) to address key issues derailing the commercialisation of the Lapsset corridor and one of the recommendations was the review of tariffs as the Federal government set to start using the port as their alternative route on a pilot basis this month.

Currently, KPA has waived fees charged for every bill of lading to all Lamu Port users and introduced promotional tariffs to woo traders to use the second commercial port.

All importers are exempted from paying Sh1,000 for every bill of lading, a charge that has been one of the trade barriers and a major hindrance to large-scale cargo importation.

In the new tariffs, the government is also considering offering at least 60 days of free storage for importers through Lamu compared to 21 days offered at Mombasa port.

The KPA earlier extended promotional tariffs to shippers and transporters including a 30-day free storage period for transhipment and transit cargo, a 14-day free storage period for domestic cargo and a 40 percent discount for cargo-based charges.

The modern cranes delivered recently are energy-efficient and environmentally improved with a capacity to lift more than 18,000 containers with an outreach of 62 metres into the sea and 16 metres on the shore.

Lamu Port has three harbour mobile cranes, two rubber tyre cranes, one mobile crane and now the three STS gantry cranes.

Kenya has assured Ethiopia of the readiness of Lamu port as they agreed to work on diplomatic and other approaches aimed at facilitating the neighbour's debut at Lamu for the importation of fertiliser on a pilot.

The Lapsset Corridor Development Authority chairman Ali Mbogo and CEO Stephen Ikua assured traders of security and key infrastructure to aid a free flow of cargo. “The Lapsset management has requested the Kenyan government to consolidate the budget of all Lapsset components with a view to fast-tracking implementation of the missing links," said Mr Mbogo.

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