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Lamu Port to handle more cargo for domestic and transit markets

COAST
By Philip Mwakio | September 20th 2021

 

Seago Piraeus Cargo Ship docks at Lamu Port. [Omondi Onyango, Standard]

Kenya’s second seaport of Lamu is angling to attract more cargo destined for the domestic and transit market within the region to fully utilize the modern facility.

Lamu Port General Manager Abdullahi Samatar said they are aggressively marketing the facility, and the port is expected to handle a car carrier for its next shipment, which will transport motor vehicles by road to their final destination.

And in what is billed as history in the making, a female captain steered one of the latest vessels to dock at the facility. Captain Pia Jensen successfully brought the MV Seago Line Instabul into the harbour on Thursday.

MV Seago Line Instanbul measuring 294.4 metres long arrived with 1,438 containers, comprising 213 empty ones and offloaded 368 at the Port of Lamu. The remaining cargo was destined for Omani Port of Salala.

During a reception to welcome MV Ionian Express that docked at the Port of Lamu Saturday, Eng Samatar noted that so far, the port has received vessels carrying transshipment cargo to be loaded for onward transfer to other ports.

MV Ionian Express is set to load 498 Twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) of transshipment cargo comprising mixed merchandise, including agricultural products, electronics and garments headed for Zanzibar. This was the second vessel in forty-eight hours to call the port on a maiden voyage.

“So far, we have been doing transshipment from here to Zanzibar and from Zanzibar to outside (sic). We need to attract additional business to grow the port,” Samatar said.

Eng Samatar revealed that the plan is to raise the share of transshipment cargo from other ports worldwide.

“If we can attract some of the transshipment that normally does not even go through Mombasa and bring it here, we shall be able to achieve our target,” he said.

Kenya Ports Authority is also working to ensure the port is adequately equipped. The authority will acquire three additional mobile harbour cranes by November this year.

The aim is to hasten ship to shore operations at the quayside and attract Ethiopian cargo to the port. KPA Chief Pilot Captain Ali Abdille, who oversaw the steering of the vessels alongside the berths, noted that the marine team has brought in seven vessels so far, with the assistance of two tugs and a pilot boat.

“So far, we have had good operations. We expect to clear the ship by tomorrow before it sails to Zanzibar,” he said.

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