AFRICANGLOBE – Construction of the Lamu Port, Kenya’s long-awaited second seaport, will finally begin next month, two years after the ground-breaking ceremony.
The Sh300 billion ($3.3 billion) project can now begin after the government completed compensating the 154 landowners who will be displaced.
It is intended to ease the movement of goods in various parts of Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia and reduce congestion at the port of Mombasa.
President Uhuru Kenyatta Monday said that construction would begin before the end of March.
“I hope the Ministry of Transport is ready because we are not going to change that date again,” warned the President, who also asked the Cabinet secretary for Transport, Mr Michael Kamau, to ensure the work goes according to plan because there is no room for further delay.
President Kenyatta gave the order during the opening of the Kenya Maritime Conference at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre in Nairobi.
The port will ultimately have 32 berths, but the project will begin with the building of only three.
The seaport is among key projects lined up in the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) Corridor — a trading route linking Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan. Other proposed Lapsset projects include a railway line, pipeline and highway connecting the three countries.
The Mombasa port is currently overwhelmed by large volumes of cargo and last year, it notched a milestone after handling one million containers.
“We began by giving special attention to maritime activities that fell into two categories: infrastructure and human-resource development. The infrastructure statistics speak for themselves. Mombasa handled a historic one million containers of cargo in 2014. Our investment, I am pleased to say, has already begun to bear fruit,” said Mr Kenyatta.
The government began compensating landowners last week and the pay-outs are expected to be completed before construction officially begins.
By: Jeremiah Kiplang’at