Press Center | Freight Shipping Logistics News
The government’s lead consultant on the multi-billion-shilling project revealed that detailed designs for the first three berths are ready while hydraulic surveys have been completed.
Dr Mutule Kilonzo and the minister for Transport Amos Kimunya separately said the Japanese consultants hired by the government last April would submit the financial implications of constructing the port in a report next month.
Maritime experts see the port as a catalyst to position Kenya as a key trans-shipment hub. Initial estimates put the cost of building the port on Kenya’s extreme northeast coast at Sh1.2 trillion.
The project, code-named Lamu-Southern Sudan Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET), has the following components:
•Lamu Port and Manda Bay
•Standard gauge railway line to Juba
•Oil pipelines (Southern Sudan and Ethiopia)
Oil refinery at Lamu Three
Three resort cities (Lamu, Isiolo and Lake Turkana shores)
The transport corridor is expected to serve an estimated population of 85 million Ethiopians and another 15 million from Southern Sudan. Once completed, LAPSSET is intended to increase business opportunities in tourism, agriculture and manufacturing.
Japan Port Consultant was given 10 months last May to carry out a feasibility study on the port as well as give an estimated cost for the project. During the last financial year, the government allocated Sh500 million for the studies. “In one-and-a-half months the port will have taken shape,” Dr Kilonzo said in an interview.
The government’s lead consultant said aerial photomapping was ongoing in Isiolo and Garissa that are among towns to be served by a standard gauge railway line that will run in to Southern Sudan. A transcontinental highway is to run parallel to the railway line, giving landlocked countries like Ethiopia and Southern Sudan access to the Indian Ocean coast.
Dr Kilonzo noted that a final report on the various surveys, including hydraulic, bathymetric (study of underwater depth) and geophysical would be ready at the end of next month. He said the consultants from Japan had also visited Southern Sudan and Ethiopia to gather information for the projected port.
Officials in Juba and Addis Ababa are reported to have expressed high expectations on the port. Mr Kimunya said the consultants were conducting studies on the speed of water and wind as well as carrying out surveys in the Indian Ocean and Manda Bay. “They need to establish the depth of the sea and whether dredging is necessary,” he said.
The ministry of Lands has set aside 1,000 acres for the port’s quay in what many see as Kenya’s new coastal town that may link Africa’s northeastern coast to the West. Mr Kimunya confirmed that the proceeds of the sale of Nairobi’s Grand Regency hotel to a Libyan company amounting to Sh2.5 billion were still being held by the Treasury for the project.
“The money is held in trust by Treasury for the project,” the minister said of the project, reported to be close to President Kibaki’s heart. The minister cautioned land speculators who have swarmed Lamu hoping to make a killing when the government eventually embarks on the construction of the port. “They (speculators) should know that land in Lamu will not be acquired by government,” he said.
China and Japan are among the countries that have shown an interest in funding the Lamu Port project.
PARASTATAL heads who signed the Mombasa port community charter risk being sacked if their agencies do not deliver on the contents of the new entity. The charter signed between the government and the private sector aims at improving the movement of cargo from the port into hinterland