Nairobi — The proposed Lamu port on Monday moved a step towards reality after the government advertised for contractors.
The project is part of the Lamu Port-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) Corridor, which will link Kenya's coast to its northern neighbours through Isiolo, Turkana and Moyale.
The Ministry of Transport on Monday placed an international tender inviting companies to send their Expression of Interest for the first phase of the multi-billion-shilling project.
Contractors will be shortlisted and the tendering process will then begin.
"As the first phase of this project, the government plans to construct three berths with associated infrastructure at Manda Bay, Lamu," said the advertisement.
The corridor is one of the flagship projects identified under the country's long-term economic development programme, Vision 2030.
Successful contractors will undertake dredging and reclamation works and construction of the first three berths to accommodate design ships with capacities of 100,000 deadweight tonnes (DWTs), 30,000 DWTs and 100,000 DWTs for container cargo and bulk cargo respectively.
Contractors, who have until October 15, 2010, to apply, will also build related infrastructure for the three berths such as access roads, railway sidings, warehouses and buildings.
The advertisement comes a few days after the Nation revealed that sketches of the port were ready and aerial photomapping was being done in towns along the route.
Designs for berths
Dr Mutule Kilonzo, the government's lead consultant for the project, said detailed designs for the first three berths were ready while hydraulic surveys had been completed.
A Japanese firm, Japan Port Consultant, was last May given 10 months to carry out a feasibility study on the port as well as give an estimated cost.
Initial estimates put the cost of building the port on Kenya's extreme northeast coast at Sh1.2 trillion. In the last financial year, the government allocated Sh500 million for the studies.
Maritime experts see the port positioning Kenya as a key trans-shipment hub.
Once complete, the project will comprise the Lamu Port and Manda Bay, standard gauge railway line to Juba, road network, oil pipelines to Southern Sudan and Ethiopia, an oil refinery at Lamu, three airports and three resort cities at Lamu, Isiolo and Lake Turkana shores.
The transport corridor is expected to serve an estimated 85 million Ethiopians and another 15 million people in Southern Sudan.
The Lapsset Corridor is expected to significantly increase business opportunities in the tourism, agriculture and manufacturing sectors.