Kenya launches shipyard as it considers shipbuilding and repairs in sub-Saharan Africa


By ANTHONY KITIMO

Kenya has commissioned a modern shipyard at the Kenya Navy’s Mtongwe base in Mombasa, making it the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to have such a facility.

The completion of Kenya Shipyards Limited (KSL) with a docking shipyard that has the capacity to handle vessels over 4,000 tonnes and 150 meters, propels the East African country to achieve its plaque status maritime turntable.

The new facility has a long slipway – a platform on which ships are stowed and winched out of the water in a work area for ship construction, repair, refit and maintenance.

The modern shipyard has two shipbuilding sheds, one 150 meters long and 30 meters high and a smaller one 120 meters long, 20 meters high and 13 meters wide.

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta officially opened the facility on Friday as the country contemplates the lucrative shipbuilding and ship repair sector.

Naval project in Mtongwe gives Kenya a competitive advantage in shipbuilding and marine engineering in East and Central Africa with the inauguration of a maritime academy in Kisumu helping to boost human resource training for sustainable growth Of the industry.

Advertising

“In the project, Kenya, which has around 17 military vessels, seeks to save $ 6,800 million per vessel in maintenance costs every 10 years, given that since independence all Kenyan vessels have been maintained and maintained abroad, in Spain or the Netherlands. Each ship has a lifespan of 10 to 15 years before a complete transformation, ”reads a communication from the Kenya Defense Forces.

KSL will employ for the first time in Kenyan history its own certified ship welders, part of the Kenyan government program to create more than 10,000 jobs per year in the maritime sector. Currently, ship welders in Kenya are foreigners.

KSL is the anchor industry for the blue economy and it will provide civil and modular infrastructure workshops, slipways, piers, bridges and whatever is needed to support the maritime industry.

Kenya has already formed a comprehensive national blue economy department, which has indicated to achieve its vision, the blue economy will require specialized vessels, for example, deep sea fishing in the exclusive economic zone where a large amount of our untapped marine fishery resources are found.

Securing Kenyan marine assets requires well-equipped vessels and KSL will play a key role in providing technical support.

Shipbuilding in Kenya is not a new concept as Kenya has built its first ship, the MV Uhuru II, at the port of Kisumu more than 70 years ago.

Improving transport and maritime infrastructure is a key part of Kenya’s economic roadmap by harnessing maritime resources to propel Kenya’s industrialization agenda under Vision 2030.

The global shipbuilding market, estimated at $ 126 billion in 2020, is currently dominated by South Korea (40%), China (25%) and Japan (15%).

Global maritime trade is valued at $ 14 trillion, 40% of which valued at $ 5.6 trillion passes through the east coast of Africa. This means that Kenya will for the first time have the opportunity to access $ 5.6 trillion in trade that takes place along Africa’s east coast by ensuring that ships pass through Kenya for undergo repairs and maintenance.