President Uhuru Kenyatta yesterday launched the construction of the Sh1.7 billion oil jetty in Kisumu whose completion is set to ease transportation of petroleum products to Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo through Lake Victoria.
The project will be completed by October.
Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) on January 18 floated an international tender for the construction.
The project is being undertaken by a Kenyan firm, Southern Engineering Company.
Mr Kenyatta who was accompanied by Energy Cabinet Secretary Charles Keter and his Industrialisation counterpart Adan Mohamed said the jetty will also employ youth from the region.
“As a government, we are committed to ensuring that the construction of the project is completed as scheduled to guarantee quick delivery of oil and other petroleum products,” he said.
The Kisumu Oil Jetty is expected to improve the safety, reliability and ensure efficient delivery of petroleum products to KPC’s customers and reduce the constraints on storage space on the current 14-inch Mombasa-Nairobi pipeline.
This comes at a time when the country has lost its regional market share to Tanzania, mainly due to the unavailability of petroleum products in the western region.
As a way of increasing its competitive edge, KPC recently introduced a 30 per cent discount on all transit products in the western Kenya depots of Kisumu and Eldoret in a move aimed at capturing more of the regional fuel market.
Earlier, KPC Communications manager Jason Nyantino, said the jetty will help the State corporation re-capture the lost regional petroleum market share.
“The jetty will be located at the shores of Lake Victoria next to our Kisumu offices near the airport. Our engineers are at the ground marking suitable site. Once the tendering is successful, we will have a ground breaking event in April,” Mr Nyantino had said on phone.
Uganda, South Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo import a huge percentage of their petroleum products using trucks from the Kenyan port of Mombasa to the Eldoret or Kisumu depots, a route considered expensive and inconveniencing.
Refined petroleum, which forms 13 per cent of Kenya’s total exports, is the country’s third largest export product after tea and cut flowers. Last year, Kenya exported a total of two billion litres to the five East African countries according to data provided by KPC.
Kisumu alone receives 60 per cent of the country’s petroleum products supplied to not only the western region but also to East African countries including parts of Tanzania, Congo, Rwanda, Burundi and Sudan.