Kenya plans to build 3 more ships to boost oil shipment to Uganda

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Kenya plans to build three additional ships to expand oil product shipments to Uganda via Lake Victoria.

According to Davis Chirchir, Cabinet Secretary for Energy and Petroleum, this would ensure daily journeys rather than the country’s current weekly excursions. Kenya began operations in early January but has only moved 20 million litres of petroleum products.

Chirchir added that despite the Ksh2 billion ($14.57 million) project’s underutilization, the government is on pace to reclaim its market share of oil exports from East Africa. “We have embarked on building three more ships so that the jetty can be doing shipments daily,” he said.

The fuel is brought to Entebbe’s Mahathi terminal and loaded onto trucks headed for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Burundi, and Rwanda.

According to Chirchir, hauling over the lake would not only be cost-effective, but would also help to reduce traffic on the highways and boost supply reliability. According to the minister, 135 trucks can be ferried across the lake by a single ship capable of transporting 4.5 million litres of oil products.

Chirchir delivered a speech in Kisumu last week after visiting the Kenya Pipeline Company’s 95-meter-long oil-loading jetty. Joe Sang, managing director of Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) and Lebanon Pipeline Company, was present.

“We are here to witness and confirm the work done by KPC to facilitate the shipment of transit goods to Uganda for onward movement to other landlocked countries,” the minister stated. In order to optimize the benefits, he also indicated that infrastructural improvements in the petroleum export sector still need to be made.

“You are aware that we are obligated to serve the landlocked countries and it is our obligation to utilize this state-of-the-art facility which should have come up much earlier. We have also sought the services of a Chinese contractor opening up the road so we can also move the trucks quickly,” Davis Chirchir said.

The oil jetty was completed in February 2018, but it was not utilised until January 2023 since a similar facility in Uganda needed to be built first.

On January 3, the first cargo of petroleum products through the MV Kabaka Mutebi II arrived at the Mahathi jetty, ending a five-year wait.