The Lamu port will handle its first transshipment cargo today as a ship from Zanzibar will be calling at the facility to deliver freight meant for the Far East.
The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) says the AMU 1, a Kenyan owned ship from Tanzania carrying 63 containers of goods is expected to dock at the facility.
Transshipment is where cargo or container get moved from one vessel to another while in transit to its final destination. It mainly happens when there are no direct connection between two ports.
On Wednesday next week, a CMA CGM ship will pick the consignment from the Lamu facility and ferry it to Dubai and the Far East country.
“We are receiving our first transshipment cargo on Thursday and it will give us an opportunity to test-run the new systems that we have put in place,” said KPA.
The newly built port, which will mainly deal in transshipment, comes at a time nearly all the ports in the region are undergoing upgrade to meet growing demand.
The customs facilities by the Kenya Revenue Authority are already at the site, and these are some of the things that KPA will be testing to see if they are working efficiently.
KPA has waived some of the charges in order to attract more ships at the new facility that was launched in May. For instance, all transshipment cargo has been given a $10 waiver that is normally charged on all the containers that transit through the port.
MV CAP CARMEL and MV SEAGO BREMERHAVEN were the first ships to dock at the Port of Lamu in May when the facility was commissioned by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The port is mainly targeting transshipment cargo to countries along the Indian Ocean Islands such as Seychelles and Comoros among others.
Kenya is also 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 use 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 metres makes it ideal for handling large ships that cannot dock at the port of Mombasa whose depth is 15 metres.
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).