The completion of a dock at the Kisumu port is expected to aid the national oil transporter’s ambitions of increasing its regional petroleum market share.
The Sh1.7 billion Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) jetty will be home to vessels like a 750,000-litre boat that used to ply the lake’s waters before the collapse of maritime trade.
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The 12-crew MT Harambee, which was refurbished at the Kisumu Maritime School, was back in the water Friday last week in readiness for the commissioning of the jetty that the contractor handed over to KPC three months ago.
The 300-tonne vessel owned by Tricon International will make at least six trips to Uganda’s Jinja and Entebbe, ferrying 4.5 million litres of petroleum products - the equivalent of 132 trucks on the road.
Tricon Director of Operation Ted Odero said the vessel, built in 2002, was withdrawn due to lack of business.
Establishment of the jetty, Mr Odero added, signaled a promising return to business of shipping bulk volumes of petroleum over the lake, easing pressure on the roads.
To this end, Kenya Ports Authority has refurbished and modernised Kisumu Port slipway, signaling serious commitment to revive the once-bustling triangular trade between Kisumu, Jinja in Uganda and Mwanza in Tanzania.
“We want to leverage on the revival of this port to return to business so that other investors can be attracted by activity,” said Odero.
But the oil transporter will first have to contend with delays by its trading partners. Although Uganda began building a jetty in Bugiri and another in Jinja way before KPC broke ground for Kisumu dock, they are still under construction.
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The jetty, whose construction began in April last year, is expected to boost Kisumu’s throughput by one billion litres a year after completion of Phase 1, and by up to three billion litres per year by 2028.