Ahead of the formal launch by President Uhuru Kenyatta, the first commercial ship docked at the new Lamu port Thursday. The commissioning of the Sh310 billion port with a capacity to handle 80,000 containers elevates Kenya to a strategic position in the trans-shipment market.
The new port which was initially slated for completion in 2020 slowed down due to disruptions from covid-19 pandemic.
The Lamu port which is the second commercial port in the country will have a total of 23 modern berths measuring 400 metres wide – double the size of berths in Port of Mombasa and will handle mainly trans-shipment cargo. It comes at a time nearly all the ports in the region are undergoing maintenance to meet growing demand.
Maersk geared ship Mv Cap Carmel goes alongside to mark a historical day for Lamu Port as its first commercial ship to dock.
The Lamu port is one of the main components of the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) corridor project and is expected to complement the port of Mombasa while opening Kenya’s largely underdeveloped frontier.
This will be through creation of a second corridor linking a new and modern Port of Lamu with Garissa, Isiolo, Maralal, Lodwar and Lokichogio and branching it to Isiolo to Moyale at border with Ethiopia and proceeding to the r border with Southern Sudan.
It is expected that the new port, which has capacity to handle bigger vessels, will attract some cargo “which would traditionally pass through the ports of Sudan, Djibouti and Mombasa.”
Kenya’s coastline plays an integral role in the regional economy by providing the artery through which goods are exported to the world. The port is expected to play a pivotal role in bridging the gap between the local communities and the International market.
LAPSSET has been Kenya’s dream project since 1975 and was given life in 2012. President Uhuru becomes the first Kenyan President since independence to build a full port and see its completion. President Uhuru has also revived the Nakuru to Kisumu and Eldoret Railway lines which are soon to be operational.