THE Coast region will soon have a fully functioning port at Shimoni area in South Coast, Lunga Lunga MP Khatib Mwashetani has said. The port will be a major boost to the Coast region economy following the calls to revamp the sleepy port into a port capable of holding huge traffic including ships on transit to neighboring countries.
Noting that the port would be a huge income earner to the region, Mwashetani said plans were underway to increase its efficiency and to enlarge its capacity to serve the East African region.
Mwashetani said the port would be a boost to the transportation of the recently discovered huge mineral deposits from the South Coast region to various other trading countries.
"We are having very fruitful meetings to revive this strategic port that has been under utilized for a long time. To this end I have been meeting investors and government officials to bring their input," said Mwashetani.
The MP who also serves as the secretary general of the revamped Coast Parliamentary Group (CPG) said feasibility studies undertaken at the site has shown huge potential.
Mwashetani said once the construction of the port commences majority of the construction workers would be sourced from within the local population in order to boost employment opportunities.
"We are very clear that once the construction starts we will source 75 percent of the workers from the local residents. Upon its completion 75 % of the jobs would also be sourced from within," said Mwashetani.
The port, he said would be constructed at the partially used Shimoni port that has been under utilized and currently serves only dhows from the neighboring Tanzanian traders and Kenyan fishermen.
"At the moment the port is serving cargo from Tanga in Tanzania. But we have realized if we make it bigger it can serve the whole East African region and open up the Asian market," said Mwashetani.
Mwashetani expressed optism that the port would help alleviate congestion issues at the main port of Mombasa and increased goods transportation into the country and for transit.
According to insiders after the feasibility studies the Kenyan government will invite bids for the construction of a berth capable to accommodate container ships, general cargo ships and bulk cargo carriers.
The project will also work alongside the Lamu port that was initially conceived in 1975 but never took off due to various reasons. The project was later revived and included in Kenya's Vision 2030.