Kenya has announced plans to build three new ships to bolster the export of oil products to Uganda through Lake Victoria, aiming to increase the frequency of shipments from weekly to daily trips.
Davis Chirchir, the Cabinet Secretary for Energy and Petroleum, expressed the intention to enhance the underutilized Sh2 billion project, completed in February 2018, to regain Kenya’s market share of oil exports in East Africa.
“We have embarked on building three more ships so that the jetty can be doing shipments daily,” stated Chirchir.
The fuel is transported to the Mahathi terminal in Entebbe, where it is loaded onto trucks for distribution to Rwanda, South Sudan, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Chirchir highlighted the benefits of maritime transport, including cost-effectiveness and the reduction of road congestion, which would enhance supply reliability.
A single ship crossing the lake, with a capacity of carrying 4.5 million liters of oil products, is equivalent to 135 trucks, he explained.
“I am encouraged by the fact that transportation of petroleum products via the lake has minimized road carnage, adulteration, and dumping of petroleum products,” stated Mohamed Liban, the Energy and Petroleum Principal Secretary.
Chirchir visited the 95-meter-long oil-loading jetty owned by the Kenya Pipeline Company in Kisumu, accompanied by Liban and Joe Sang, the managing director of KPC.
“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,” Chirchir stated.
He emphasized the need for infrastructure improvements in the petroleum export sector to maximize the benefits, noting that the current trucking system faces challenges due to narrow roads, hindering swift transportation.
“We have also sought the services of a Chinese contractor to open up the road so we can move the trucks quickly,” Chirchir added.
The construction of the oil jetty was completed in February 2018 but faced delays in the corresponding facility’s construction in Uganda.
The first consignment of petroleum products arrived at the Mahathi jetty on January 3, 2023, ending a five-year wait for its utilization.