After years of waiting, President Uhuru Kenyatta has finally commissioned the Lamu Port. The port’s commissioning marks the completion of the first berths of the mega project. The project was initially conceived in 1972 but shelved for 49 years until in 2009 when it was revived and included in Kenya Vision 2030.
In 2012, in a historic move, the then President Mwai Kibaki was joined by South Sudan President John Salva Kiir Mayardit, the then Ethiopian Prime Minister the late Meles Zenawi and Uganda President Yoweri Museveni and the four laid down a foundation plaque at the Port. Maritime experts say the project, which is part of the Lamu Port South Sudan Transport corridor (LAPPSET), would propel Kenya to be a transport and commercial hub.
Singaporean Mv CAP Carmel is the first commercial vessel to dock during the commissioning, signaling the beginning of business. Lamu Port which has deeper and longer berths is positioned as a transshipment facility where bigger ships could bring cargo for redistribution in the region.
During the commissioning President Uhuru Kenyatta said “A new chapter unfolds today in the development and transformation of Lamu. A chapter that joins the transformation taking part in every part of our country. Today we officially operationalize berth number one and this means we can start receiving ships and cargo at this port and by July berth number two will be ready and by October berth three shall be operational.”
The president encouraged the youths to grab the opportunity to secure jobs in the port and shun away from crime and terrorism activities.