Kenya’s Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure and the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the revival of the Kenya National Shipping Line (KNSL).
President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday witnessed the signing by Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia and Captain Giovanni Cuomo, the First Vice President of Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) which is one of the leading global container shipping companies in the world.
Speaking during the signing ceremony at State House, Nairobi, President Kenyatta said the revival of the shipping line was a priority for Kenya because it will create jobs for thousands of Kenyans.
“We are very keen to revive the shipping line. And we are confident that we can run the shipping line again,” President Kenyatta said.
Kenyatta welcomed the Government’s partnership with the Mediterranean Shipping Company in the revival efforts, saying he expects the relevant teams to work with dedication and speed so that the shipping line is launched soon.
“This is a valued partnership between Kenya and the private sector. I look forward to launching the shipping line soon,” he said.
In reviving KNSL through the partnership with MSC, the shipping line is expected to once again become an active participant in international seaborne trade which accounts for a significant percentage of Kenya’s total trade.
The revival of the shipping line and the upgrading of Bandari College into a centre of excellence for maritime studies which was approved by the Cabinet this week is set to transform Mombasa into a trans-shipment hub in the region and is a huge boost to the ongoing efforts to mainstream blue economy as an important economic activity in the country.
The Kenya National Shipping Line was established in 1987 as the national carrier for seaborne trade but years of mismanagement led to its near collapse necessitating the current proactive efforts to restart its operations.
The signing comes just days after Cabinet approved the revival of the KNSL as a mechanism for growing the blue economy.
Kenya will host the Global Sustainable Blue Economy Conference (SBEC) in Nairobi from November 26-28, 2018.
The conference will bring together over 4000 participants to discuss issues pertaining to a blue economy strategy that promotes People Centred Sustainable Investments in the Sector.
According to the World Bank, components of the blue economy include established traditional ocean industries such as fisheries, tourism, and maritime transport.