A new dawn for Lamu port as it prepares to receive first cargo ship
BUSINESS: Kenya’s newly constructed Lamu Port will bank on huge cargo business opportunities from the Horn of Africa and ships that dock at the harbor of Durban in South Africa and Salalah of Oman as it sets up.
The port is expected to receive two ships tomorrow at 5am in an event to be presided over by President Uhuru Kenyatta in the company of Ministry of Transport and top management of Kenya Port Authority (KPA).
The Mv Cap Carmel and Mv Seago Bremerhaven 280 metres and 294 metres long respectively courtesy of Maersk Shipping Company East will dock carrying cargo both for local and regional market as well as consignments destined for other markets.
Management of KPA confirmed The Mv Cap Carmel is the main vessel and is expected from Dar re Salam Port while the other one will dock earlier from Mombasa Port carrying loaded and empty containers.
“This is specifically for demonstration during the official launch day. The second ship will dock some other times carrying Kenyan exports mainly destined for Far East market,” said senior Captain Geoffrey Namadoa.
KPA chairman Joseph Kibwana opined that the port management opines that the size of the new port in terms of length and depth places it at a better position to rival the two harbours.
And thus will help in expanding the Kenya regional trade space. “Over and above benefiting from largest vessels from north and South of Indian Ocean, government further plans to fast track strategies geared towards lifting cargo by road to our neighbouring landlocked countries of Uganda, Southern Sudan and Ethiopia,” he said at Lamu.
In an interview in his Mombasa office, KPA Acting managing director Rashid Salim said that Lamu Port offers a big opportunity for ship business that normally harbours in other busiest ports located North and South of Indian Ocean.
“The Port of Lamu has been built to modern standards, with berths of quay length of 400 metres and a channel that is minus 17.5m deep.
That means post-panamax and new panamaxvessels that may not be able to dock at the Port of Mombasa, will comfortably dock in Lamu with a volume capacity of up to 10,000 TEUs,” said Salim.
Initially the government had planned to have constructed three berths by the time of launch, but it is only one that is complete.
Once fully complete, the port will have 23 berths placing it second to Durban which has 58 docks.
Mombasa port has 19 berths comprising one bulk grain terminal, two oil terminals/jetties, four container berths.