Press Center | Freight Shipping Logistics News
The Institute of Chartered Shipbrokers (ICS) — a global professional body for shipping business headquartered in London, said that the government and other industry stakeholders must move with speed to avert a looming crisis.
“With the maritime industry expected to grow even at a faster pace due to the ongoing construction of the Lamu Port, labour needs have not been met, exposing Kenya to a shortage of trained manpower,” said Mr Robert Watene, chairman of curriculum development at the institute’s regional chapter, which is overseeing training in 10 countries.
He said that unlike before when professionalism was not taken seriously by various players, competition has now raised the bar, making it harder to survive without a knowledgeable workforce.
Development of the Lamu Port Southern Sudan Ethiopia (LAPSSET) transport corridor is expected to open a huge professionals demand at the 32-berth port, which once complete, will be among Africa’s largest.
The corridor has seven components, including standard railway lines, refineries, airports and resort cities.
“It is estimated that the requirements of the industry will be in excess of 500,000 trained workers, and unless there are efforts to train manpower, Kenya might be forced to import professionals from Tanzania which started training shipping personnel earlier,” said Mr Watene.
With the anticipated growth, the institute has now launched a campaign urging industry players to embrace professionalism.
Over the years, staff already working in the industry are the ones who have been seeking training, but the institute is now shifting focus towards schools to increase the skills force.
“We are not only talking to industry players encouraging them to embrace professionalism by training their staff but also conducting lectures in schools to inspire students to pursue shipping careers early in life,” said Ms Mercy Wanjiku, the institute’s programmes officer.
Two years ago, Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) estimated that the industry would create over 400,000 jobs in five years’ time, a feat that now looks realistic with the ground-breaking of Lamu port early this year.
Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in conjunction with KMA has initiated a degree course to train marine pilots and engineers. A curriculum to train seafarers was also developed about three years ago.
The ICS regional branch was initially registered in Kenya in 2007 and has spearheaded training professionals involved in cargo handling logistics to acquire internationally recognised benchmarks.
PARASTATAL heads who signed the Mombasa port community charter risk being sacked if their agencies do not deliver on the contents of the new entity. The charter signed between the government and the private sector aims at improving the movement of cargo from the port into hinterland