Kenya is moving closer to rolling out the National Maritime Transport Policy that will guide exploitation of resources in the maritime sector.
Today, senior government officials who will oversee the roll-out of the policy will undergo training in a two-day workshop.
The Transport ministry is hosting maritime players in the workshop that will also discuss ways of tapping the vast potential of the sector.
The maritime policy, which is being developed by a multi-sectoral committee, is expected to spell out procedures for harnessing fishery resources from Kenya’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) among other activities as the country moves to deepen the exploitation of the blue economy.
Maritime and Shipping Affairs Principal Secretary Nancy Karigithu said the three-day workshop will focus on the “process and content” to be taken into account when developing and formulating policies affecting the sector.
“We hope to raise awareness on the importance of a NMTP as a good governance and planning tool for various government agencies and other stakeholders as we seek to integrate maritime policies into the national development planning process,” Ms Karigithu said in a telephone interview. She said the training would build capacity among the officials given the complex nature of activities in the maritime industry.
The forum brings together several players responsible for different aspects of operations, management, and policy formulation.
Maritime industry comprises over 13 sectors, 15 sub-sectors and 87 different interconnected activities. Thus, decision on one of the maritime-related activities may adversely affect performance of another sector.
The workshop is facilitated by personnel from the World Maritime University based in Malmo, Sweden.
The policy is being drawn as a follow-up to the maritime conference held in Nairobi in 2014, which identified eight areas for emphasis as the country looks to up the sector for increased investments.
The conference resolved to initiate the development of an integrated maritime policy that would ensure maximum exploitation of the sector in areas of security, regulation and infrastructural development.
Under the plan, the Kenya National Shipping Line (KNSL) will also be restructured to become a commercially viable entity with the government expected to provide initial support by formulating a cargo quota allocation system, according to the recommendations of the conference.
The development of the policy comes even as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) is auditing Kenya to determine how the country is implementing and enforcing IMO conventions.
The audit which started on Monday is expected to enhance Kenya’s compliance to the IMO conventions and build confidence in Kenya’s maritime sector as it relates to maritime safety, security and marine pollution prevention, said Transport principal secretary Prof Paul Maringa.
He said the audit process would help the country build capacity in the maritime sector and identify areas for further improvement.
“The audit will also enhance continuous improvement in the maritime sector, identification of possible risks and prevention or mitigation of such risks before they occur. If any findings or observations are raised during the IMO audit, the framework provides room for corrective action,” he said.