Ship transport on Lake Victoria is set to improve after the government started dredging Kisumu port to ease navigation of vessels.
The project has officially kicked off and will subsequently include water hyacinth control with the aim of opening up the lakeside port. The initiative is intended to open up Winam Gulf which has been choked by the weed which extends to Homa Bay County.
Kenya Ports Authority Head of Inland Waterways Javan Wanga said the exercise will cover 62 kilometres and take at least 30 months to complete.
Speaking at the Kisumu Port after docking of the dredging machine, Mr Wanga said the shoreline will be drilled to six metres deep to allow berthing of heavy ships. “The pier has accumulated residue over the years and has made some areas shallow up to between 1.5 to three metres deep,” he said.
Mr Wanga said that the landing bay will be widened to about 80 metres to accommodate two ships at a time. “The government is committed to revitilise the lake for optimisation of the blue economy and make iot beneficial to the economy of the region,” he said.
The 70-metre-long dredging vessel, MV Mangoe Tree Ltd, arrived in Kisumu yesterday ahead of the launch today.
It was witnessed by Kisumu Deputy Governor Mathews Owili and officials from Kenya Maritime Authority, Kenya Pipeline Corporation, Kenya Railways Authority, Lake Victoria Basin Commission and the Lake Region Economic Bloc.
MV Mangoe Tree Ltd administrator Frank Nenard however said removal of the stubborn hyacinth weed will start after three months as they await the arrival of two harvesting machines to be shipped in from China.