HANDSHAKE GOODIES

Uhuru to launch Kisumu port next month — Macharia

CS says the remaining two per cent will be completed in two weeks

In Summary

• CS says after work is complete, a balance sheet will be prepared to establish full cost of project

• Refurbished port has resumed oil exports to Uganda with the first consignment of 22 wagons loaded with 894,000 litres of diesel last December

Kisumu Port.
98% DONE: Kisumu Port.
Image: FAITH MATETE
Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia in Kisumu.
ANTICIPATION: Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia in Kisumu.
Image: FAITH MATETE

The refurbished Kisumu port will be commissioned next month following months of anticipation, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia has said. 

Macharia said the rehabilitation project is currently 98 per cent complete. 

The CS said the remaining portion will be completed in two weeks.

 

He visited the facility on Monday and met Kenya Ports Authority MD and chairman, Kenya Railways officials and the county commissioner among other stakeholders. 

Macharia noted that they have done the assessment with the officials and were impressed with the works so far. 

“After two weeks when the remaining two per cent has been completed, we can now know when it will be launched officially considering this is something involving the head of state,” he said.

Seen as part of the handshake goodies, the facelift is expected to restore the once vibrant East Africa hub, an area previously perceived as deliberately marginalised by the state. 

The CS could not, however, confirm the exact amount used in the refurbishment of the port, saying there were still ongoing works and a balance sheet of the project would be done including auditing to know exactly how much was used.

The launch date of the project has been postponed for several months. 

The traders incurred huge losses and are still grappling with how to start business afresh after their stalls were flattened by bulldozers. 

 

The more than 10,000 locals who were affected by the demolitions within Kisumu town are optimistic the port will create employment and business opportunities.  

However, some still question the viability of the port and whether it will come with benefits. 

The refurbished port has resumed oil exports to Uganda with the first consignment of 22 wagons loaded with 894,000 litres of diesel last December.

The multi-billion investment in the port, jetty and rail facilities in Kisumu has started paying off with the off-take of petroleum exports to the hinterland.

It also signals the resumption of bulk exports through Lake Victoria that has been dormant for more than two decades. 

The fuel was shipped using Kenya Railways' refurbished MV Uhuru to the Uganda harbour of Port Bell.

On average, Uganda imports 85 million litres of fuel with demand growing at seven per cent per year.

The majority of the petroleum products –92 per cent– is exported to Uganda through the Mombasa port in Kenya, while only eight per cent arrives via Dar es Salaam on the Tanzanian coast. 

We loaded the product at our Kisumu depot before it was taken by rail and loaded into the vessel (MV Uhuru) for shipment to Uganda,” Kenya Pipeline Company Kisumu depot manager James Kimaiyo told the Star in a phone interview.

Last October, KPA contracted Envasses Environmental Consultants Limited in a joint venture with Eco Plan Management Limited to prepare an environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) study report for the revitalisation of the Kisumu port infrastructure.

The report raised serious environmental concerns threatening the lake ecosystem following revitalisation of the port.

The authority has in the report recommended that an environment impact sssessment license be issued to the facility only after proper mitigation measures are put in place.

The report dubbed Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Study Report for the Proposed Revitalisation of Kisumu Port Infrastructure dated December 2, 2019, revealed that dredging and dumping pose the highest risk to the Lake Victoria ecosystem. 

Currently, the National Environment Management Authority has invited the public through a notice published in the local dailies on January 16 to submit oral or written comments on the report to assist the authority in decision-making for the project. 

Edited by R.Wamochie 

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