On Saturday, 14, 2023, His Excellency Honorable Dr. William Samoei Ruto, President of the Republic of Kenya and Commander in Chief of the Kenya Defense Forces, paid a working visit to Kisumu Shipyard accompanied by His Excellency Honorable Rigathi Gachagua, the Deputy President, His Excellency Honorable Prof. Anyang’ Nyong’o, Kisumu County Governor, and other dignitaries.

The President was taken through a brief about Kenya Shipyards Limited (KSL) and current projects being undertaken, as well as a tour of the yard, by Brigadier Paul Otieno, Managing Director of KSL.

This is the inaugural visit to Kisumu Shipyard since Dr. William Ruto was elected President of the Republic of Kenya. The President was happy with the progress of the construction of the wagon ferry, which is at an advanced stage. The wagon ferry is going to optimize maritime transport opportunities across the transboundary Lake Victoria and complement the MV Uhuru I in the transportation of goods to the neighboring East African countries, especially after the resumption of Kisumu Port operations, as it promotes maritime transport, which is the cheapest mode for bulk transportation.

Marine transport on the lake, together with the rail network, has played a crucial part in the transportation of cargo and passengers to and from Kisumu to Port Bell in Uganda and Mwanza in Tanzania, using rail ferries that carried rail wagons loaded directly from rail tracks in the three ports.

The President noted that KSL is an important catalyst in the shipbuilding industry and is playing a pivotal role in the enhancement of maritime transport within the Lake region. Lake Victoria which is riparian to five counties, that is, Busia, Kisumu, Siaya, Migori, and Homabay is also a natural resource to three countries that is inclusive Uganda and Tanzania. As such, this is able to reduce the stress of movement of goods via road transport, the ripple effect being reduced movement time, and lower costs with zero loss of fuel and zero adulteration cases compared to road transport.

KSL is able to create employment and alleviate poverty in the local populace around the lake region, provide revenue to the government through local manufacturing through the construction, refits, repairs, maintenance, and overhaul of vessels, which is able to increase the GDP, which is a boom for traders and investors, and makes the regional economy and commerce much more competitive, especially with the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

Kisumu Shipyard location is also a focal point to revitalize inland waterways and port infrastructure within the country as well as in the provision of civil and modular maritime works for counties such as Siaya in the modernization of its piers in Asembo Bay, Usenge, and Luanda K’otieno to enhance intercounty trade between Kisumu, Homabay and Busia counties. This will ultimately contribute to the exploitation of our blue resources and the actualization of the blue economy, which is the next frontier of economic development.

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