KENYAN President Uhuru Kenyatta inspected the ongoing construction of the KSh40bn (about $350 million) offshore Kipevu Oil Terminal, the largest of its kind in Africa.
The construction of the 770-metre-long jetty, currently at 96 percent complete, is wholly funded by the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) and implemented by China Communications Construction Company. When complete in April this year, the offshore facility will be able to load and offload very large sea tankers of up to 200,000 DWT carrying all categories of petroleum products including crude oil, white oils and LPG.
Speaking during the inspection, President Kenyatta, accompanied by visiting Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi, said the new jetty will enhance supply and ensure price stability of petroleum products in Kenya and the region by replacing the 50-year-old onshore Kipevu Oil Terminal (KOT).
When operational, President Kenyatta noted that the new offshore jetty will save the country more than KSh23bn ($18 million) annually in demurrage costs incurred by oil shippers, thereby contributing to a significant reduction in fuel pump prices.
The President hailed Kenya’s development partnership with China saying the arrangement had helped deliver key infrastructure projects, adding that the populous Asian nation was progressively opening up its expansive domestic market to Kenyan exports.
‘The old Kipevu Oil Terminal which for many years we have struggled with, was not able to meet the demands of increasing population, to meet the demands of the growing economy. We needed this facility to be able to cater for those demands and China was there when we asked for partnership in developing it,’ Kenyatta said.
‘Let me say as a country we strongly value the partnership between our two countries. Our political cooperation, our economic cooperation, our cultural engagement is something that we value and something that we look forward to deepening as we move forward.
‘Kenya I can clearly say would not have been able to achieve many of our social economic development agendas without the support of China. And this is something that not only we as a government appreciate but also the people of Kenya appreciate,’ the President said.
Kenyatta expressed optimism that the continued opening up of the Chinese domestic market to Kenyan exports will help bridge the huge balance of trade gap that exists between the two economies.