COAST NEWSPAPER CORRESPONDENT
MV Spirit of Dubai, which is operated by a French Shipping Company-CMA CGM, on July 21, 2021) became a second commercial ship to dock at newly operationalized Lamu Port.
The vessel docked at the port to pick transshipment cargo destined for Port of Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.
On July 15, 2021, the first ever transshipment cargo from Zanzibar destined for Saudi Arabia was offloaded at the port, which was commissioned on May 20 by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
Amu 1, which is operated by a Kenyan shipping company- Lamu Shipping Limited, became the first commercial ship to dock the Lamu Port.
The vessel, which has a capacity of 124 TEUs, had on board 62 containers- 41 forty-foot containers (TEUs) and 21 twenty-foot containers (TEUs), of a variety of agricultural products from Zanzibar destined for Jeddah.
Acting Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) managing director Ambassador John Mwangemi said the reception of the MV Spirit of Dubai was to test the equipment at the port of Lamu since operationalization about two months ago.
“Our aim is to make the Port of Lamu the largest transshipment port in the region. We can take the largest ships of up to 410 metres in length,” he said adding that the port will be a first-class one.
“We are working towards talking with other shipping lines to ensure that we receive more vessels in the future,” the MD added.
In the next four months, the Port of Lamu is scheduled to receive new Port Handling Equipment to make it more efficiently.
Currently, the facility has been equipped with two Harbour Mobile Cranes, two Rubber Tyre Gantry Cranes, several Terminal Tractors and the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) mobile scanners.
To attract more business to Lamu, the Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has said a 10 dollar transshipment fee has already been waived. It is also in discussion to explore other tax break options.
They have also deployed the new Integrated Customs Management System (ICMS) at the Lamu Port to ensure faster clearance of cargo and enhanced turnaround time to secure competitive advantage in the shipping industry and pull more business to the Port.
During the reception of MV Spirit of Dubai, CMA CGM East Africa deputy general manager Daniel Sepetu praised the ICMS system.
“We are the pioneers and have tested the KRA, KPA and KRA systems. We managed to post the documents through the Integrated Customs Management System (ICMS) and the whole process went on smoothly,” he said.
At the same time, two Kenyan seafarers have been contracted for nine months at sea aboard MSC Paola that called at the Port of Mombasa on July 20, 2021.
The Liberian flagged container ship was moored at Berth 17 before sailing to Port King Abdhullah, Saudi Arabia.
This is 3rd batch of 50 Kenyan seafarers is expected to be recruited to work aboard the MSC container vessels operating along the Red Sea, Western Indian Ocean and the Far East. The ship discharged 600 empty containers and loaded 450 full containers.
(Edited by Mwakera Mwajefa)