CONSTRUCTION of the first three berths at the Lamu port will start in June, Kenya Ports Authority management has said. The Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport project had derailed due to lack of funds since its launch by former president Mwai Kibaki in March 2012.
The ground-breaking ceremony was jointly overseen by Kibaki, South Sudan President Salvar Kiir and the late Prime Minister of Ethiopia Meles Zenawi. KPA managing director Gichiri Ndua said in interview the singing of contracts for the project is complete. Ndua said designs for the berths are in the final stage before engineers get to the ground.
"We are on course and the constructions are set to kick off in June. This is one of our major projects this year," said Ndua. The Sh38 billion tender was awarded to China Construction and Communication Company.
Last year, National Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich announced a Sh3.7 billion budget allocation for construction of the berths and associated infrastructure for the Lapsset project. The port headquarters is however already taking shape where construction of the four storey building is almost complete.
Other projects underway include construction of the port police station and staff houses and fencing of the port site. Assembling of a 400km power transmission line from Rabai in Kilifi to the port of Lamu is also underway where the plant will connect Lamu with a 220 kilovolt power line.
Ndua said a committee is also in place to ensure the compensation program for those displaced to pave way for the project runs smoothly. "We have a committee in place that is looking into the issue. I want to assure you that compensation will be done in a proper way basing on the survey done which will incorporate all the groups including the local community," said Ndua.
The Lapsset project also known as the second transport corridor comprises the Lamu port at Manda Bay, a railway line, highway, oil refinery, oil pipe line and airports at Isiolo, Lamu and Lodwar. The project will see Lamu, Isiolo and Lodwar turned into resort towns and special economic zones especially Lamu town.
The transport corridor project is estimated at Sh2 trillion which is about half of the Kenya's GDP. The corridor is expected to generate about 2 to 3 per cent growth in GDP annually.