KPA to run Likoni ferry as takeover plans in top gear

Passengers exit a ferry at the Likoni channel on Monday last week. Kenya Ferry Services will soon be dissolved and its operations taken over by the Kenya Ports Authority.
 

Photo credit: Laban Walloga | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • The PS met the management’s top officials and board members who were informed that the agency will be taken over by KPA.
  • KPA board chairman Joseph Kibwana, however, said they are yet to receive official communication of the takeover.

The Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) will be dissolved and its operations taken over by the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), the Nation has learnt.

Talks for the dissolution of the agency have been on and culminated in a meeting that happened last week between Transport PS Solomon Kitungu and the KFS management.

The PS met the management’s top officials and board members who were informed that the agency will be taken over by KPA.

“The PS was here to inform the directors of the dissolution. There will be no board or top management of the parastatal (KFS). That is what the meeting was about,” said a government official who is privy to the talks, but is not allowed to speak to the media.

Sources told the Nation that business transactions for the ferry services will now be done by KPA when talks are completed, with leadership of the Transport ministry set to brief President Uhuru Kenyatta on the development.

“The last week's meeting was between the PS and KFS board. Now the top officials are supposed to do their other meetings at the top government level before a decision is made,” said another source.

Takeover

The takeover is set to be done immediately when talks with the Head of State are done.

KPA board chairman Joseph Kibwana, however, said they are yet to receive official communication of the takeover.

“If it is to happen, we will receive an official communication, but we are yet to,” Mr Kibwana told the Nation on phone.

In the said plans, only the operations and engineering departments will be left under the KFS with the others, including the finance and procurement, solely put under KPA.

“The main business transactions will be done by KPA in the new set up which is in its final stages,” another official told Nation.

The move has sparked fears among the top management, with some officials staring at losing their positions. A senior officer from KPA, however, confided that the ferry staff will all be absorbed by KPA.

It is understood that part of the reasons for the takeover by KPA is the construction of the Sh1.9 billion, Likoni floating bridge which is set to be completed by the end of the year.

According to plans, the operation of the bridge is to be done by KPA which will deploy its tag boats that will be used to open and close the bridge in case there are ships entering or leaving the Mombasa port.

According to design details, the bridge will comprise a 715-metre long floating section, and 54-metre long approaches on either side of the floating span.

Fishing boats

It will have a 150-meter section at the mid ocean, which will be movable to allow opening and closing to facilitate movement of ships in and out of Mombasa port.

For big ships, the bridge will have a swing opening of a clear 150 metres width while for small fishing boats, there would be a bascule opening of five metres, the design shows.

The bridge will be demobilised at least an hour before any vessel docks so that the barge has enough time to withdraw undersea anchors.

Meanwhile, the takeover of the ferry services by KPA is a return of the system that was used before the formation of the KFS.

Before KFS was set up, ferry services used to be under KPA, which took them from the Kenya Bus Services, which ran the services until 1989 when it decided to pull out.

It is after the pull out that the government took over the operation and tasked KPA to run the ferries.

Information available in the KFS website shows that KPA then changed one of its subsidiary company Bunty Estates Ltd to Kenya Ferry Services Ltd and commenced operations in November 1989.

amohamed@ke.nationmedia.com

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