KPA seeks to transform Kisumu port into cruise ship hub

A view of Kisumu Port and shipyard. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

The government has embarked on an ambitious plan to transform Kisumu Port into a cruise ship hub as efforts to revamp lake transport gain momentum.

The plan is expected to breathe life into the untapped potential of Lake Victoria transport that thrived in the 1980s and 1990s.

At the time, the legendary MV Uhuru was among the ships that provided transport to neighbouring countries alongside other East African countries' flagged ships.

Shipping and Logistics plans to position Kisumu as a cruise ship hub are at an advance stage. Other partners including private players are also actively investing in new vessels to exploit the region's maritime transport.

Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) engineers have finalised the design of a passenger terminal at Kisumu Port, setting stage for cruise ships to start docking in the near future.

KPA engineers said the modern terminal comprises of unique fusion of indoor and outdoor spaces, offering breathtaking panoramic views of Lake Victoria and a floating roof designed to harness natural breeze for maximum comfort.

The Kisumu Port Resilient Infrastructure Project, a collaborative initiative with TradeMark Africa, is part of the ongoing implementation of the KPA Strategic Plan.

"The project encompasses a modern cargo warehouse to complement the new passenger terminal, ensuring comprehensive support for both passenger and freight activities," said KPA.

The terminal will have a public concourse featuring concession areas, drop-off and arrival zones, ticketing facilities and screening sections. It will also comprise of passenger processing zones equipped with check-in counters, immigration, and customs facilities as well as port health services.

"Travelers can look forward to a range of amenities, such as restaurants, forex bureaus, and offices for taxi and tour operators within the terminal premises," said KPA.

Designed to optimize passenger flow, the terminal includes segregated areas for ferry passengers with substantial cargo, local travelers, and international/VIP guests.

With a capacity to accommodate more than 500 passengers at the jetty and 1,000 at the ferry terminal per hour, the facility aims to streamline travel operations and ensure an exceptional experience for visitors.

Construction is currently underway at the Homa Bay pier, with Kisumu poised to emerge as a central water transport hub.

Other landing sites across the lake region are also undergoing refurbishment.