Kenya Opens New Shipyard Facility in Mombasa
Kenya is looking to tap into the lucrative shipbuilding and repair business after commissioning the new Kenya Shipyards Limited facility in the port city of Mombasa.
The East African nation says that the new yard will have the capacity to handle vessels of more than 4,000 tonnes and 150 meters in length. It is a strategic infrastructure asset, enabling the country to tap into the multi-billion-dollar global shipbuilding and repair market.
“The key sub-sectors of the blue economy, which include maritime transport and logistics, fisheries, as well as ship-building and repair, represent low hanging fruits that must be exploited,” said President Uhuru Kenyatta at the facility’s commissioning.
The new KSL Mombasa Shipyard facility has the country’s longest slipway for construction, repair, refitting, and maintenance. It also has two ship-building hangers, one 150 meters long and 30 meters high, and a smaller one that is 120 meters long, 20 meters high, and 13 meters wide. The shipyard has four main workshops: an electronic repair workshop, a marine and general engineering workshop, a fitting and carpentry workshop, and a hull and superstructure repair workshop. The country has already trained teams of specialized workers in ship fitting and welding to meet the yard’s labor needs.
President Uhuru said that the direct, indirect, and induced impacts of the Mombasa Shipyard will create many jobs, generate diverse investment opportunities, and raise revenue for the country.
The Kenya Defence Force (KDF) has been involved in developing the facility for the past two years, and it stands to benefit from access to a local maintenance hub for Kenya’s navy and coast guard. The facility is expected to save the country substantially in terms of the foreign exchange that goes into maintaining its ships in foreign shipyards.
The new yard is one component of Kenya’s plan to boost its status as a regional maritime hub. It follows the operationalization of Lamu port in May. The new port’s first three berths were constructed at a cost of $367 million. The Kisumu Port on Lake Victoria has also been refurbished at a cost of $30 million. However, plans to revive the defunct Kenya National Shipping Line remain in limbo over concerns that the line cannot compete on a global scale.