Towards Stronger Maritime Partnerships

PS Karigithu (Left) confers with Prof. Ngumi during the meeting.

The Kenya State Department of Maritime and Shipping Affairs and Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) are set to strengthen and solidify their existing partnerships to accelerate the achievement of the vast potential in the blue economy, both in the country, regionally, and across the globe.

According to the Principal Secretary (PS) for Maritime and Shipping Affairs, Mrs. Nancy Karigithu, the University has been a reliable partner in providing key research outputs, capacity building, technology transfer, and quality graduates.

“Some of your students we’ve interacted with, particularly graduates of Marine Engineering, have surpassed our expectations, and because of that, we continue to seek more areas of partnership for the benefit of our young people and for the country’s development,” she added.

The PS spoke on Wednesday 24 February 2021 at the University Main Campus when she paid a courtesy call on the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Victoria Wambui Ngumi, alongside the Project Lead for the Maritime Technology Coorporation Centre for Africa (MTCC Africa), Ms. Lydia Ngugi.

Besides discussing the cementing of existing and upcoming partnerships, the deliberations centered on the status update of the MTCC Africa which is hosted at the JKUAT Mombasa Campus, and how the University can collaborate more closely with the Maritime State Department, the Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure, Housing and Urban Development, and the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Ms. Ngugi makes her submission during the meeting.

MTCC Africa is part of the Global Network of Centres of Excellence promoting the uptake of low carbon technologies and energy efficient practices in the maritime and shipping industry. The center focuses on technical co-operation, capacity building and technology transfer. While reporting on the progress of the Centre, the Project Director, Dr. Eng. Hiram Ndiritu underscored the gains that have been made over the past four years, and expressed optimism at the possibility of another phase of the project.

“So far two pilot projects have been undertaken by the center, the first one being the ‘Uptake of Port Energy Efficient Technologies and Operations’ within the African ports. This was implemented at the Port of Mombasa,” he explained.

“The second pilot project was on Fuel Consumption and Emissions Data Collection and Reporting, which was aimed at quantifying the impact of greenhouse gases from the shipping industry in selected ports and waterways in the African region,” he postulated.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the centre moved its events and activities online, an approach that according to the Project Lead, Ms. Ngugi, has enabled them to continue delivering on their mandate effectively.

“So far we have held a number of virtual workshops, webinars, and events across the continent centered on among other subjects, increasing the role of women in decarbonization, climate change mitigation in the shipping and maritime industry with a focus on North African states, and the recently held 5th National Workshop held in conjunction with Benin, which highlighted the need for the Promotion of Technical Co-operation and Transfer of Technology relating to the Improvement of Energy Efficiency in Ports and the shipping industry at large.”

In the coming days, MTCC Africa will be hosting its first ever virtual Energy Efficiency Conference and Exhibition (Confex), running from 17th to 25th March, 2021. The event is open to both the private and public stakeholders in the maritime and shipping industry, and will offer a platform for innovative participation from technology providers in the African region and the world over, setting the pace towards tangible solutions in climate change mitigation in the shipping industry by use of technology.

While reacting to the status report of the centre, the Vice Chancellor commended the resilience of the project coordinators and partners, and assured of the University’s unequivocal support to see the project through.

“From this comprehensive status report, and with the upcoming Confex, I am happy to note that the pandemic did not slow our bid to improve energy efficiency in the maritime sector for sustainable development. As the host of MTCC Africa, and as a University that identifies as a center of Research, Innovation, and Technology, we remain steadfast in our commitment to capacity development, technology transfer, and any contribution that will optimize the sustainable exploitation of the blue economy,” she concluded.

From left: Prof. Ikua, Ms. Wangari, PS Karigithu, Prof. Ngumi, Ms. Ngugi, Dr. Adenya, and Dr. Ndiritu after the deliberations.

On her part, the PS reiterated the Ministry’s support towards MTCC Africa, adding that the milestones achieved so far by the center cannot be gainsaid.

“The journey has not been entirely smooth, but it has been full of good challenges and lessons along the way. Through the dedicated work by the center, we have managed to net strategic partners and stakeholders with whom we will further advance the mission of MTCC Africa. A lot more are in the pipelines, and they will be joining our ship soon enough,” she asserted.

The meeting was also attended by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Prof. Eng. Bernard Ikua, Chair, Department of Marine Engineering and Maritime Operations (MEMO), Dr. Christiaan Adenya, and Ms. Annette Wangari, a technical advisor in the State Department of Maritime and Shipping Affairs.

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