National shipping line gets nod to clear State cargo at port

When Ever Diamond Cargo vessel ownerd by Evergreen Shipping Line made a maiden call at the Mombasa port in 2018. [File, Standard]

All imports and exports for ministries and other State agencies will exclusively be cleared by the State-run Kenya National Shipping Line (KNSL).

Cabinet Secretary Mining, Blue Economy, and Maritime Salim Mvurya said on Friday in Mombasa that he had issued circular directing government agencies to clear cargo through KNSL. "I've sent a circular to all government departments about the clearance of their cargo by Kenya National Shipping Line," said Mvurya after a meeting with heads of a section of State agencies.

Early this month, Mvurya directed KNSL to take over the moribund Government Clearing Agency (GCA) and ensure it handles government exports and imports.

This sparked outrage from private clearing and forwarding agencies who fear losing the lucrative business of processing government cargo. Mvurya says the move will make GCA profitable.

On Friday, Mvurya and Transport CS Kipchumba Murkomen said they would harmonise the operations of various government entities under the blue economy and maritime sectors and operations.

They established a working group under their principal secretaries to streamline operations of fisheries projects, KNSL, and Bandari Maritime Academy in Mombasa County.

Principal secretaries for fisheries, maritime affairs and transport will work with the bosses of the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), Kenya Maritime Authority, the KNSL and Bandari Maritime Academy to develop policies and regulations to ensure they work seamlessly.

Murkomen said Bandari Maritime Academy would be used for training seafarers and KPA staff, noting that KPA will work closely with other agencies to achieve the Kenya Kwanza administration’s bottom-up economic agenda.

“KPA was concerned about where to train its staff. But the Bandari Maritime Academy will serve the port workers and train all maritime workers, including seafarers. We believe the agencies will work together to deliver on the bottom-up agenda,” he said.

The academy, formerly Bandari College was established by KPA. It was made an autonomous entity by former President Uhuru Kenyatta in 2018 to train seafarers. Mvurya announced that the Sh1.4 billion Liwatoni fish processing project would be operational in the next six months, adding that the government and private sector will work together there.

CS Murkomen also defended President William Ruto's directive to ‘return’ port operations to Mombasa, saying road transporters were now getting more cargo at the port. 

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