BY NAMULOGO PETER,NAIROBI, 2ND AUG,2022-President Uhuru Kenyatta on Tuesday commissioned the Ksh 2.4 billion MV Uhuru II Wagon Ferry at the Kenya Shipyards Limited (KSL), Kisumu County.
Officially launched in May 2021, the Wagon Ferry is now ready for floatation, being the first milestone of the strategic project.
Construction of the wagon ferry took place after the completion of the first phase of upgrading of the Kisumu Shipyard commissioned by the President today.
Its maiden voyage had been set for August 2022 with engineers and staff still working round the clock to ensure the delivery of the project.
Once the MV Uhuru 2 is complete, the ship will join MV Uhuru 1 which was revived to a tune of Ksh 50 million.
In his speech, President Kenyatta highlighted its benefits for the region and challenged County Governments within the Lake region to look beyond regional borders to tap into new markets.
The Head of State said that with the operationalization of the MV Uhuru 2, creation of job opportunities through growth, improved transport and safety on the Lakes will spur development.
He said the country will also continue partnering with the East African Community to explore possible ways that will ensure growth.
He lauded stakeholders, including the Kenya Defence Forces and the National Youth Service (NYS) for the rehabilitation and making KSL a reality.
KSL will be used for the repair and building of ships in Kenya and the EAC.
The Kisumu Shipyard Limited will play a key role in growing the Kisumu Port, the transport network via the lake and improve intermodal transport network within the region.
KSL has been able to directly employ over 1900 locals by mainstreaming women and youth in shipbuilding activities in the last year.
The growth of support businesses and other economic activities will have a catalytic effect on the growth of the economy in the Lake region and surrounding areas.
National Treasury has granted KSL a Special Economic Zone status that will increase KSL’s competitiveness in the local and regional market