Sh10bn jump­start works at pro­posed Lamu port project

Trans­port PS Irungu Nyak­era says the deep­en­ing of the dock­ing area for ships by 17.5 me­tres kicked off at the weekend, and dredg­ing, which will take two years, has be­gun

The Star (Kenya) - - News Business - WEITERE MWITA @MwitaMartin

The con­struc­tion of the first three berths at the pro­posed Lamu port has gained mo­men­tum, putting in mo­tion the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the Sh2.5 tril­lion Lamu Port South­ern Su­dan-Ethiopia Trans­port project.

This is af­ter a more than fouryear lull caused by fund­ing chal­lenges.

About Sh10 bil­lion was al­lo­cated to the project in this year’s bud­get.

The deep­en­ing of the dock­ing area for ships by 17.5 me­tres kicked off at the weekend, Trans- port PS Irungu Nyak­era said yes­ter­day. “Dredg­ing has started. A 10,000-tonne class ves­sel is on site and the dredg­ing will take two years,” Nyak­era told the Star.

The dredg­ing is part of the $478.9 mil­lion (Sh48.6 bil­lion) deal with China Roads and Bridge Cor­po­ra­tion the con­trac­tor signed with the Kenya Ports Au­thor­ity in Au­gust 2014, for the con­struc­tion of the first three berths.

“The first berth will be ready by June 2018,” Nyak­era said.

The lat­est de­vel­op­ment is a pos­i­tive in­di­ca­tor for the Laps­set project com­mis­sioned early 2012 by former Pres­i­dent Mwai Kibaki.

South Su­dan’s Pres­i­dent, Salva Kiir, and former Ethiopian PM Me­les Ze­nawi at­tended the ground-break­ing cer­e­monies for Kenya’s se­cond largest trans­port and in­fra­struc­ture project.

“Laps­set has the high­est pri­or­ity within gov­ern­ment. To re­alise this, we need pri­vate sec­tor part­ner­ship,” Nyak­era said.

The vi­a­bil­ity of the project has been threat­ened by new in­fra­struc­ture projects in Ethiopia, Uganda and Tan­za­nia.

They in­clude the 700km Ethiopia (Ad­dis Ababa)-Dji­bouti rail­way line val­ued at $4bil­lion (Sh405­bil­lion), which links the coun­try to the port of Dji­bouti.

The port han­dles about 80 per cent of Dji­bouti’s international trade vol­umes. The de­ci­sion by Uganda to ditch the 1,500-kilo­me­tre Hoima-Lo­kichar-Lamu crude oil pipe­line deal also dealt a ma­jor blow to the Laps­set project.

Uganda has signed a deal with Tan­za­nia for an oil pipe­line from Hoima to Tan­za­nia’s Tanga port.

Nyak­era, how­ever, af­firmed gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ment to the project, say­ing the multi­bil­lion-shillings Laps­set cor­ri­dor will be developed un­der a pub­lic-pri­vate part­ner­ship frame­work.

The pro­gramme in­cludes the con­struc­tion of the re­main­ing 29 berths at the 32-berth port es­ti­mated at $5.3 bil­lion (Sh537.4 bil­lion).

/ FILE

Work­ers at the pro­posed Lamu port project site

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