Fifth vessel with Zanzibar bound cargo docks at Lamu port

MV Seago Piraeus from Oman docked at the Lamu port to discharge 100 containers destined to Zanzibar.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit I Nation Media Group

Lamu port has received its fifth container cargo ship since it begun its operations in May this year, as the government is set to dispatch a team next week to market the facility to the neighboring countries.

Danish owned vessel MV Seago Piraeus operated by Maersk, sailing from Port Salalah in Oman docked at the port on Saturday afternoon to discharge 100 containers destined to Zanzibar, before proceeding to Mombasa.

The 294-meter long vessel is the first longest ship to dock in Lamu and second in Kenya.

The longest vessel docked at Mombasa port about two years ago.

Other four vessels, which have docked in Lamu since May include Mv Spirit, Amu1, MV CAP Carmel and MV Seago Bremerhaven.

Treasury Cabinet Secretary Ukur Yatani said a sixth vessel is expected to dock at the facility in the next two weeks, as more shipping lines develop interest to use the port.

National Treasury CS Ukur Yatand and Kenya Ports Authority acting managing director John Mwangemi at the Lamu port.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit I Nation Media Group

"Since Lamu Port was opened, we have made strides and Lamu Port has proved to be best place for transshipment," said Mr Yatani.

The CS said the government will dispatch a marketing team to Ethiopia and South Sudan beginning next week to market the port.

Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) Commissioner  for customs and border control Lilian Nyawenda, who was also present, said the off-loaded containers are destined to Zanzibar.

"KRA systems are up and we managed to clear the containers with assorted goods ranging from cars, household goods, agriculture inputs in less than 24 hours. Our systems are connected with other government agencies systems making them efficient in clearing any amount of cargo on time," Ms Nyawenda said the commissioner.

She added, "In our various borders more so at Moyale, KRA has posted more staff and eqquiped the offices to facilitate quick clearance as Ethiopia remains Lamu Port prospect market."

Ms Nyawenda said KRA is more so focused in building confidence to traders by clearing cargo on time before it shifts to revenues.

"Once we have confidence, revenue will start streaming with ease," she said.

Maersk Eastern Africa managing director Carl Lorenz said good business, partnership and collaboration with Kenya Port Authorities (KPA), the government and all stakeholders has encouraged his company to invest more in the region.

Mr Lorenz has also encouraged more companies to join hands and develop shipping and logistics sector effectively to contribute to the growth of the Kenyan economy.

“The arrival of the third Maersk vessel marks another milestone in the long history we have in serving Kenya, through both Mombasa and Lamu by ensuring that importers and exporters in Eastern Africa are able to connect their cargo to all global markets. We shall remain close and focused in offering services to our customers’ and we shall continue to offer solutions to them,” said Mr Lorenz.

Among those who were present to witness docking of the fifth ship include KPA acting managing director John Mwangemi.

MV Seago Piraeus from Oman arriving at the Lamu port to discharge 100 containers destined to Zanzibar.

Photo credit: Kevin Odit I Nation Media Group

Zanzibar and Far East have proved to be Lamu Port’s major market as the third Maersk vessel and the fifth vessel since the port was opened three months ago docks.

Early July, the first vessel by CMA CGM to make maiden call docked in Lamu from Soviet Union, where it collected about 50 containers from Zanzibar headed to Far West.

Maersk and CMA CMG have docked two ship each at the Lamu port since the port started its operations on June 15 this year.

KPA on its part it is ready to handle any vessel at the Lamu Port after it installed relevant cargo handling machines including panamax and post-panamax vessels with a capacity of over 10,000 TEUs.

Some of the operations equipment installed at berth number one of the three completed berth at the port include two Harbour Mobile Cranes and ICT infrastructure.

KPA has also committed to acquire Ship to Shore Gantry cranes in order to fully kit these 3 berths as it calls upon other shipping lines to introduce services to the port of Lamu.

Lamu port, which has since been operating on transshipment is yet to start receiving transit cargo due to incomplete road infrastructure connecting to major towns despite KRA geo-fencing and gazette Mombasa-Malindi- Minjila-Lamu and Lamu-Minjila- Garissa road.