Kenya plans to build three more ships to enhance the export of oil products to Uganda through Lake Victoria.
Energy and Petroleum Cabinet Secretary Davis Chirchir said this would ensure daily trips from the current weekly voyages to the landlocked country.
Kenya has only shipped 20 million litres of petroleum products despite being launched in early January.
Chirchir, while noting that the Ksh2 billion ($14.57 million) project that was completed in February 2018 is being underutilised, said the government is on track to regain its market share of East Africa’s oil exports.
“We have embarked on building three more ships so that the jetty can be doing shipments daily,” said the cabinet secretary.
The fuel is transported to the Mahathi terminal in Entebbe where the product is loaded onto trucks to Rwanda, South Sudan, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Other than being cost-effective, Chirchir said the haulage through the lake would help reduce road congestion and improve the reliability of supply.
According to the minister, a single ship across the lake with the capacity to carry 4.5 million litres of oil products is equivalent to 135 trucks.
“I am encouraged by the fact that transportation of petroleum products via lake has minimised road carnage, adulteration and dumping of petroleum products,” said Energy and Petroleum Permanent Secretary Mohamed Liban.
Chirchir spoke in Kisumu last week after touring the 95-metre-long oil-loading jetty owned by the Kenya Pipeline Company.
He was accompanied by Liban and Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) Managing Director Joe Sang.
“We are here to witness and confirm the work done by KPC to facilitate the shipment of transit goods to Uganda for onward movement to other landlocked countries,” Chirchir said.
He said that there is still a need to work on infrastructure improvement in the petroleum export sector to maximize the gains.
He also pointed out that apart from having fewer ships, the trucks accessing Uganda move through narrow roads hindering quick transportation.
“You are aware that we are obligated to serve the landlocked countries and it is our obligation to utilize this state-of-the-art facility which should have come up much earlier. We have also sought the services of a Chinese contractor opening up the road so we can also move the trucks quickly,” he noted.
The oil jetty whose construction was completed in February 2018 was only put into use in January 2023 due to a prolonged delay to complete the construction of a corresponding facility in Uganda.
It was not until January 3, when the first consignment of petroleum products arrived at the Mahathi jetty via the MV Kabaka Mutebi II bringing to an end the five-year wait.