The Port of Lamu will open dedicated berths to handle specialised cargo as the facility seeks to attract more business from the region.

The move will see the recently commissioned port construct specifics berths for specialised products such as agriculture goods, livestock and crude oil.

The port as planned, said Kenya Ports Authority acting chief executive officer John Mwangemi will not only serve the transshipment market, but all kinds of cargo destined for the hinterland and transit markets as already demonstrated.

“As part of diversification of the port, there are plans to develop specialised berths to handle Agri-bulk, livestock, crude oil among other specialised products,” said Mr Mwangemi.

While defending the viability of the Lamu port, Mr Mwangemi said according to the KPA Master Plan 2018-2047, the Port of Mombasa can only be developed up to Berth 29.

“And even with that additional wiggle room to expand, it placed a small caveat that further development would require massive capital investment by way of reclamation and dredging. Clearly, any demand for port facilities beyond berth 29 would need to be accommodated elsewhere,” he said.

Mr Mwangemi said there is a market of over 385 million people in the Eastern Africa and the largely unexploited economic opportunities in these countries, noting that there is enough pie for everyone and room to cooperate.

There have been fears that the regional ports will eat on the market share of Kenya’s new port as the Lamu facility is targeting the transshipment cargo to Ethiopia. The launch of Berbera port has been seen as a major competitor to the port of Lamu as the facility is strategically positioned to serve Ethiopia.

During the inauguration of the new terminal, Somaliland President Muse Bihi Abdi said the port would serve the landlocked countries, especially Ethiopia. Kenya is targeting Ethiopia and South Sudan, as key destinations on goods coming out of Lamu Port.

Source : Business Daily Africa