Kenya unveiled a modern shipyard at the Mtongwe Navy base in Mombasa on Friday, making it the first country in sub-Saharan Africa with such a facility.
The Kenya Shipyards Ltd (KSL) has the capacity to handle vessels of more than 4,000 tonnes and 150 metres and will boost the East African country’s status as a maritime hub.
The new facility has the longest slipway, a platform on which ships are secured and winched out of the water into a working area for construction, repair, refitting and maintenance.
While opening the facility, President Uhuru Kenyatta said that the Navy project in Mtongwe gives Kenya a competitive advantage in shipbuilding and maritime engineering in eastern and central Africa.
“In the project, Kenya, which owns about 17 military ships, seeks to save 60.2 million U.S. dollars per vessel in maintenance fees every 10 years considering that since independence, all Kenyan ships have been serviced and maintained overseas, either in Spain or Netherlands,” says a notice from the Kenya Defence Forces.
KSL will for the first time in Kenya’s history employ its own certified ship welders, which is part of the Kenyan government’s agenda to create over 10,000 jobs per year in the maritime sector, considering all ship welders in Kenya are foreign.
The global market for ship construction, estimated at 126 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, is dominated by the Republic of Korea (40 percent), China (25 percent) and Japan (15 percent).The global maritime trade value is worth 14 trillion U.S. dollars, of which 40 percent, worth 5.6 trillion U.S. dollars, passes through the east coast of Africa.
This means that Kenya will for the first time have the chance to access a portion of the trade that takes place in this region of Africa by ensuring ships pass through Kenya to undergo repair and maintenance.