Kenya Opens New Shipyard Facility in Mombasa

The new KSL Mombasa Shipyard (KSL)

Published Dec 21, 2021 6:06 PM by The Maritime Executive

Kenya is looking to tap into the lucrative shipbuilding and repair business after commissioning of the new Kenya Shipyards Limited facility in the port city of Mombasa.

The East Africa nation says that the new yard will have the capacity to handle vessels of more than 4,000 tonnes and 150 meters in length. It is a strategic infrastructure asset, enabling the country tap into the multi-billiond-dollar global shipbuilding and repair market.

“The key sub-sectors of the blue economy, which include maritime transport and logistics, fisheries, as well as ship-building and repair, represent low hanging fruits that must be exploited,” said President Uhuru Kenyatta at the facility's commissioning.

The new KSL Mombasa Shipyard facility has the country's longest slipway for construction, repair, refitting and maintenance. It also has two ship-building hangers, one 150 meters long and 30 meters high and a smaller one 120 meters long, 20 meters high and 13 meters wide. The shipyard has four main workshops - an electronic repair workshop, a marine and general engineering workshop, a fitting and carpentry workshop and a hull and superstructure repair workshop. The country has already trained teams of specialized workers in shipfitting and welding to meet the yard's labor needs.

“The direct, indirect and induced impacts of the Mombasa Shipyard will create many jobs, generate diverse investment opportunities and raise revenue for the country,” said President Uhuru.

The Kenya Defence Force (KDF) has been involved in developing the facility for the past two years, and it stands to benefit from access to a local maintenance hub for Kenya's navy and coast guard. The facility is expected to save the country substantially in terms of the foreign exchange that goes into maintaining its ships in foreign shipyards.

The new yard is one component of Kenya's plan to boost its status as a regional maritime hub. It follows the operationalization of Lamu port in May. The new port's first three berths were constructed at a cost of $367 million. The Kisumu Port on Lake Victoria has also been refurbished at a cost of $30 million. However, plans to revive the defunct Kenya National Shipping Line remain in limbo over concerns that the line cannot compete on a global scale.