Kenya’s new port of Lamu will start operations as a transshipment hub when the complete berth and container yard are commissioned in early March.
The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) had proposed that Section 34(i) of the East African Community Customs Management Act be amended to remove the requirement for transshipment entry, to make it easier to transact and handle cargo.
“We have made tremendous progress in this initiative as the proposal has already been approved by the EAC, and its removal will go a long way in supporting transshipment business at the port of Lamu of which shipping agents have expressed interest,” KPA managing director Daniel Manduku told The EastAfrican in an e-mail.
He added that Maersk shipping line, one of the companies operating at the Mombasa port, has committed to call in the first vessel.
Although transshipment cargo is not supposed to face tedious clearing procedures, Kenya requires shippers to lodge several documents.
The practice in other transshipment ports globally is that since the cargo does not leave the port but is loaded from one ship to the other, it is exempted from stringent regulatory approvals.
The first berth at the Lamu port is complete, with a container yard that has a holding capacity of over 21,000 twenty-foot equivalent units.
The move to transform the facility into a transshipment port of entry started in 2015 when a joint team of KPA and the Kenya Revenue Authority visited Tangier in Morroco, Colombo in Sri Lanka and Malta port, which are close in size to Mombasa.
Although the initial plan was for the second berth to handle transshipment cargo, it will also be used as a commercial port.