The newly refurbished Kisumu Port is expected to support the livelihoods of millions of people in parts of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.
It is estimated that the Port, which includes the Kisumu Oil Jetty will contribute a GDP of around USD 30 billion to the total East Africa Community economy.
In Kenya, the port will directly support the counties of Kisumu, Busia, Kakamega, Nandi, Vihiga, Kericho, Homa Bay, Kisii, Migori, Nyamira, Siaya, Bomet, Trans Nzoia, and Bungoma which collectively have a population of approximately 14 million.
With the rehabilitation of Nakuru-Kisumu metre-gauge railway line, the residence from the neighboring counties are expected to fully participate in value addition in the regional production and supply chains.
The Ksh 700m port upgrade project
The project is among the biggest investment by the government for the lake region in recent times.
According to the Kenya Ports Authority, the Port was upgraded at a cost of Ksh700 million. The rehabilitation works included concreting of the port yard, construction of the quayside, repairs of the linkspan, repairs of the dry dock and rehabilitation of all buildings.
Feeder jetties and piers were also put in place. Kisumu port was also equipped with among others; forklift trucks, mobile cranes and tractor-trailers.
The government has also repaired the biggest cargo vessel on Lake Victoria, MV Uhuru, which broke down 13 years ago. The vessel, which is under the management of Kenya Railways Services, received the facelift in 2019 after President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) to intervene.
MV Uhuru is a big ship that has a capacity of 1,650 tonnes and has two engines. The vessel had been packed in Kisumu for a period of between eight and 10 years.
The KDF was given the mandate to partner with Kenya Railways to revive the ship. It is reported that it took KDF only seven months to bring back the vessel to operation.
According to the Chief Administrative Secretary for Defence Peter Odoyo, some contractors had quoted as high as Ksh1.8 billion, but KDF used onlyKsh250 million.
MV Uhuru resumed voyages to Port Bell Jinja in Uganda and Mwanza ports in Tanzania in 2019 and has so far shipped millions of litres of oil to Uganda using the oil rig.
The Kisumu Port is also complemented by Kenya Pipeline Corporation’s (KPC) USD17 million oil jetty which was completed in 2018.
The jetties are expected to have higher safety and reliability and ensure the efficient delivery of petroleum products across the region, removing an estimated 100 oil tankers from the roads.
The trade engagement between Kenya and its neighbors will earn Kenya revenue through exporting Kenyan products to these countries cheaply and efficiently.
Kenyans will be able to engage in agriculture and produce goods that are needed in Tanzania, Uganda, DRC, Burundi and Rwanda.
In December 2019, Kenya exported its first oil shipment to Port Bell in Uganda. The consignment contained 22 wagons loaded with 894,000 liters of diesel.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his government have been keen to have Uganda and Tanzania import their oil from Kisumu and not Mombasa.
Currently, Uganda imports 85 million litres of its oil from Kenya and Tanzania, with Kenya handling at least 92 percent of the oil exported to Uganda.
With the completion of Kenya’s oil jetty, Kenya is expected to export more oil products to Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan and parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo once the oil jetty on Ugandan side is complete.
Kisumu Port and Lake Victoria are expected to grow the tourism and hospitality sector due in the Nyanza region.
Lake Victoria is the second biggest freshwater lake in the world.