The new Lamu Port on Thursday received its third cargo ship carrying containers of mostly agricultural products from Zanzibar and destined for Jeddah Islamic port-JIP in Saudi Arabia.
The port was commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta on May 20, at an event that saw the first ship, MV CAP Carmel from Singapore dock at the port’s first berth.
The second vessel was Mv Seago Bremerhavel. The two ships were on transit from Mombasa and Dar-es-Salaam ports.
The thirds vessel, MV AMU1, which docked at the port site at around 3pm Thursday belongs to global CMA CGM shipping company.
It had 41 forty-foot containers and 21 twenty foot contains equivalent to 103 TEUs, where cargo was offloaded for transshipment.
Another vessel is expected to dock at the Lamu Port on Monday to pick the cargo for its final destination.
Speaking at the port, Kenya Revenue Authority Regional Coordinator in charge of Southern Region, Joseph Tonui, termed the receipt as a vote of confidence by the shipping industry.
Tonui said the dream of making Lamu the port of choice for exports, imports and transshipment hub was finally becoming a reality.
He said KRA has deployed the new Integrated Customs Management Systems-ICMs at the Lamu Port to ensure faster clearance of cargo and enhance turnaround time for vessels.
This will give the facility competitive advantage and pull more business to the port.
“KRA will continue to support and facilitate international trade as well as working closely and partner with industry players that includes the shipping lines, importers, exporters, clearing agents and logistics to enhance trade and generally market the new port,” said Tonui.
He said KRA supports a multi-agency approach whereby several government agencies represented at the port are working jointly to enhance efficiency and eradicate delays through common approach in solving trade-related issues and enhancing competitiveness of the port.
“We are encouraging other shipping lines to use the Lamu Port and direct the biggest vessels to be served at the facility given that the port has bigger capacity, efficient customs clearance process and waiver of transshipment fee,” he added.
The Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) regional manager Salim Bunu termed the arrival of the third vessel as a major milestone in the functionality of the port.
“This is a key indication that the port is feasible. We are looking forward to receiving even more cargo ships from across the globe,” said Bunu.