Press Center | Freight Shipping Logistics News
According to Transport Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere, the requirement has been introduced in the Maritime bill to protect the rights of local citizens from exploitation by international businessmen.
“I have introduced a clause in the Maritime bill which is currently awaiting presidential assent that no international shipping company will be permitted to set office at in Mombasa unless 51 percent of its shares are in the hands of Kenyans,” said Mr Mwakwere.
He said that the companies would continue owning vehicles, shipping lines, containers, and even workers of their own choice but it was mandatory that the Mombasa head office belonged to a local who would act as an agent to the company.
Speaking on Tuesday during the Lamu Maulidi festival, the minister stressed on the importance of the bill in putting Kenya on the white list of the International Maritime Organisation which enables a country enjoy the benefits of its sea water resource.
“It is surprising that a country like Kenya which has over 200 nautical miles of sea under it has no particular procedure to control its resource. Such a situation makes a nation lose recognition as a maritime nation and all the benefits that come with it,” said the minister adding that besides Tanzania amending its law to enable it to train seamen, even Somalia benefitted ‘double’ from its resource while Kenya behaved like a landlocked country.
Besides enabling the country to train and certify internationally recognised seamen, the 180-page document will also enable the country buy sea vessels and own them apart giving the country the capacity to scout the sea, arrest and procecute anyone found illegally fishing within the country’s waters.
On his presentation, the Minister said the creation of Lamu port would aid in opening up of the economy of not only forgotten parts of Kenya but other landlocked countries like Ethiopia.
“The port of Mombasa has failed to meet international standards as its entry point is too small and only allows one vessel at a time which slows down the economy,” said the Minister adding that the town should only thus be left to flourish as a tourist hub.
He said the development of the port also followed a request by Sudan to create a shorter railway to Juba and its southern constituencies, as the port of Sudan was two and a half times the distance from Juba to Lamu and the new port would be closer than the one in Mombasa..
He said the proposed port location at Magogoni would also be economical since no dredging would be required as the port was deep enough.
Mr Mwakwere said that the government was currently in the process of sourcing more funds to construct the railway line, roads, airport, and pipeline while collecting more views from locals on the proposed port.
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