Kenya Ports Authority Managing Director Daniel Manduku on Monday said works have been completed in the Kisumu Port and the facility is now ready to start handling cargo, with a main focus on shipments to the hinterlands. President Uhuru Kenyatta has personally sent invitations to four heads of state to grace the opening ceremony whose date is being set by State House in conjunction with the County Government of Kisumu. They include John Maghufuli of Tanzania, Yuweri Museveni of Uganda, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and South Sudan’s Salva Kiir.
Completed works include concreting of the port yard, construction of the quayside, repairs of the linkspan, repairs of the dry dock and rehabilitation of all buildings.
Quayside is an area along the banks of a water body while a linkspan is a type of drawbridge used mainly in the operation of moving vehicles on and off a vessel. All roads within and the link roads to the port facility have also been repaired, Manduku said.
“We are just waiting for the official opening ceremony. Anytime the visiting heads of state confirm availability. We are ready,” Manduku said.
Transport CS James Macharia and Manduku inspected the facility last Friday.
“The CS was very impressed with the amount, quality and speed of work done,” Manduku said.
According to Manduku, Kisumu port can handle 50,000 TEUs or an equivalent of 200,000 metric tonnes. TEU stands for Twenty-Foot Equivalent Unit which can be used to measure a ship’s cargo carrying capacity.
It (Kisumu Port) will handle all types of cargo,” Manduku said, which includes both containerized and conventional Cargo.
Feeder jetties and piers are also being put in place. Kisumu port has been equipped with among others; forklift trucks, mobile cranes and tractor-trailers.
“The revival of Mv uhuru is almost complete and the link span is ready to receive wagon ferries. At the moment, a complement of cargo handling and maintenance equipment has been deployed to back up operations at the lake port,” KPA chairman general (Rtd) Joseph Kibwana told port stakeholders in Nairobi last Wednesday, during a business luncheon.
The facility which has undergone an intensive seven month upgrade now paves way for operations of wagon ferries and vessels, a game changer in lake transport and business activities in Kisumu and her environs.
“Kisumu Port is expected to open up the western Kenya market and further boost regional trade,” Manduku said, as he assured port stakeholders of other developments at the Port of Mombasa, Lamu Port and other small ports mainly in the Indian Ocean.
“Preparations are underway to construct Shimoni Port as a fishing port a move that will boost the sustainable exploitation of the blue economy,” Manduku said. Shimoni is in Kwale County.
At Kisumu, Kenya Railways Corporation engineers are working on a new rail link from Kenya Pipeline to Kenya Cereals Board, which is already linked to the port.