East Africa’s economic giant, Kenya has kicked off plans to revive the Kenya National Shipping Line (KNSL) that has the potential to contribute over 3 billion U.S. dollars into the country’s economy annually, a government official said.
This move is coming barely six months after West Africa’s giant; Nigeria announced moves to also revive is moribund national shipping line.
Kenya’s State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu said the shipping line is expected to create an average of 3,000 job opportunities for youth in the first year, and thereafter progressively increase to 6,000 in five years.
“This administration has invested billions of shillings in this region to build or improve security, infrastructure and general service delivery, with the simple goal of uplifting the lives of residents in an inclusive way,” he told journalists in Mombasa.
Esipisu said negotiations are at an advanced stage for the exit of foreign shareholders who have expressed desire to cease working with KNSL, due to KNSL having become a parastatal.
The revival of the shipping line is expected to return Kenya to its historical place as a rich seafaring nation with highly respected seafarers. The shipping line has been dormant for decades.
Esipisu said the plan which is being rolled out by the State Department of Maritime and Shipping Affairs, is part of the government’s wider plan to boost the economy of the coast region as well as that of the whole country.
Meanwhile, Esipisu said Kenya Railways will receive 200 freight wagons, three passenger locomotives and other equipment in the coming week for the Standard Gauge Railway which will be ready for use in June.
He also revealed that 35 students left the country last month to start a four year Railway Degree Programme at Beijing Jiaotong University in China.
“We are still on schedule for the handover and the first train will run by June 1,” said Esipisu. He also pointed out that the Mombasa Port has undergone significant transformation under the Jubilee Administration.
“There has been an increase in the number of berths, improved efficiency of management of the port that has resulted in significant increase of the container throughput,” he said.