The recently launched port of Lamu continues to record good business with transshipment cargo forming the bulk of the freight handled at the facility.
Last week, the port received the largest consignment of 365 containers of transshipment cargo, the biggest of the six ships to have been shipped to the Port since its operationalisation in May.
MV Seago Line Istanbul docked on September 16, following pre-arrival clearance by customs officers based at the Port of Lamu.
“This is a sign that the future is bright for the port as we are on the path to becoming a major transshipment hub in the region, as it had been envisaged,” said KPA.
The cargo comprised a variety of goods like cooking oil, wheat flour, sugar, used clothing, rice, ready-made garments, fabrics, footwear, vehicles, and personal effects.
The consignment was re-shipped by another vessel, MV Ionian Express which arrived in Lamu port on September, to consignees in Zanzibar.
The Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) has urged local investors and other traders in the region to emulate their counterparts from Zanzibar who have used the port for the third time, a clear demonstration that it is cost-effective to import cargo through the Port of Lamu.
The Port of Lamu plans to open dedicated berths to handle specialised cargoes as the facility seeks to attract more business from the region.
The move will see the KPA construct specifics berths for specialised products such as agriculture goods, livestock, and crude oil.
The Port as planned, said the agency’s 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.
Kenya is targeting Ethiopia and South Sudan, as key destinations on goods coming out of Lamu Port. At the moment, most of the sea cargo to Ethiopia uses the port of Djibouti.
The new facility is now one of the largest port in sub-Saharan Africa and will target countries along the Indian Ocean Islands such as Seychelles and Comoros among others.
The depth of the port, which is 17.5 meters makes it ideal for handling large ships that cannot dock at the port of Mombasa whose depth is 15 meters.
The port is a key part of the wider Lamu Port South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor, which is being implemented at a total cost of Sh2.5 trillion ($24 billion).
A steady climb in shipping rates witnessed since March 2020 showed signs of easing this October for the first time in over a year. The freight cost on the busy Shanghai-Los Angeles trade route for a 40-foot container sank by almost $1,000 last week to $11,173, representing a decline of eight percent, which analysts say is the steepest fall since March 2020.
The cost of transporting cargo has dropped to levels last seen in 2009 as transporters continue to grapple with low volumes of freight at the port of Mombasa. The decline in cargo has been attributed to the high cost of shipping, occasioned by a shortage of containers globally, which has seen traders cut down on imports.
The containerised cargo dwell time at the port of Mombasa improved in quarter two of this year but remained below the December 2022 set target, according to Northern Corridor Transport Observatory quarterly report.An analysis by the agency shows that it took cargo an average of three days to be evacuated from the Port of Mombasa in the quarter ending June 2021.