Private fuel transporters in Kisumu are now urging oil dealers to consider utilising the refurbished Kisumu Port to transport their cargo in what could help reduce truck traffic being experienced on the borders of Tanzania and Uganda.
This could also reduce the risk of coronavirus infection, amid soaring numbers among truck drivers and long hours spent at the borders as they undergo testing before clearance.
According to Mr Edward Odero, the director of Tricon International Limited, using the Kisumu Port at this moment could reduce cases and risk of transmission of coronavirus because there is little contact with the public.
"There will be limited contact and interaction between sailors and crew members operating the vessels as they will remain in the tanker and allow the Ugandan staff to drive locomotives and the products," Mr Odero, who owns fuel tankers, said.
He added that crew members will undergo regular testing for Covid-19.
The first fully approved oil tankers were built and launched for operation in October 2003.
The tug MT Harambee and two tank barges, Tanker I and Tanker II, were built by Kisumu Marine Yard, a local manufacturer.
These tank barges are the first fully compliant oil tankers certified to carry petroleum products.
Tanker I and Tanker II are Kenyan built and registered, which Mr Odero said had complied with structural rules for oil tankers.
A dry mock run at Kenya Pipeline Company at Kisumu Port and a wet run to Jinja Port were successfully carried out last year.
These units are now in total readiness and on stand-by to start operations from KPC Kisumu depot to Uganda," he stated.
Apart from the private operators, the Kenya Railways Corporation-owned MV Uhuru has made some trips to Port Bell in Uganda, carrying 800,000 litres of petroleum products.