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World’s biggest container shipping line eyes Lamu Port

World’s largest container shipping company―Maersk is eying Lamu Port, a boost to the facility which is slowly getting international maritime players attention.

Known as Mærsk A/S, the Danish business conglomerate with activities in the transport, logistics and energy sectors, is ready to call at the new port facility, the Star has established.

This comes as Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) moves to equip the first berth at the port which was completed on August 6, with construction of the second and third berths being underway.

“Maersk has committed to bring a ship to call at Lamu Port,” Edward Kamau-KPA General Manager Corporate Services confirmed yesterday, “We are preparing to move equipment to support operations at the first berth which is ready.”

The equipment includes Rubber-Tyred Gantry cranes (RTGs), terminal tractors, forklifts and reach stackers(for container handling) and pilot boats, tag boats and mooring equipment( for handling of vessels).

The authority had in July called for supply of three-six tonne and two-five tonne forklifts. KPA is also installing navigation aid at the port.

“These equipments are just but a few to start us off. By the time all the three berths are complete, we shall have full operations at Lamu,” Kamau said.

Maersk’s operations at Lamu will be a shot in the arm to the new facility, and KPA which has offered promotional tariffs to shipping lines and port users.

The largest container ship and supply vessel operator in the world since 1996, Maersk is expected to connect Lamu to over 300 ports globally, a major boost to trade in the country and the entire region.

“We move at least 12 million containers every year and deliver to every corner of the globe,” an official told the Star yesterday.

Maersk Emma, one of the biggest ships in the market has a capacity of more than 20,000 TEUs.

To cement investor confidence on the port, KPA is next week planning to take shipping lines’ executives to Lamu.

“We want them to appreciate how the facility looks like and what is expected of them once we commence operations,” Kamau said.

KPA has extended a 30 days storage free period for transhipment and transit cargo coming through Lamu, 14 days storage free period for domestic cargo and a 40 per cent discount for cargo-based charges as per the KPA tariff.

“We are going to promote Lamu as a transshipment port. We continue talking to to shipping lines and some vessels have shown interest to come and use Lamu for Ethiopia destined cargo,” KPA managing director Daniel Manduku told the Star.

The government is constructing the first three berths at the planned 32-berth port which is part of the Sh2.5 trillion Lamu-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (Lapsset), launched in 2012 during former President Mwai Kibaki’s regime.

China Communication Construction Company (CCCC) has been on site since 2015 after securing a Sh49.7 billion contract, in August 2014, to construct the berths.

According to transport CS James Macharia, “berths two and three will be completed by December 2020.”
Source: The Star

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