Design and infrastructure for three major berths at Lamu Port are complete putting it on course to attract funds for port operations and the 29 berths.
The Sh300 billion ($3.3 billion) project will largely be funded through a Public- Private Partnership model as government’s plan to avoid burdening the country with debts.
The completion of the first three berths is set for 2019. This will create way for government to begin a structured approach to attract over Sh259 billion funding from the private sector through equity, debts and infrastructure bonds.
“Detailed designs and infrastructure for the first berths are complete, contractor China Communication Construction Company and supervision consultants Yashoon Engineering are working on the first berths at an estimated cost of Sh41 billion, already, Sh4.5 billion has been approved for the work,” said Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) Corridor Development Authority CEO Silvester Kasuku.
Lamu Port is among the key projects lined up in the trading route linking Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan. When complete, it will ease movement of goods to northern countries and reduce congestion at the Port of Mombasa.
Constructors working on the project are expected to construct the berths and yards; revetment, causeway and roads; buildings and utilities. They are also expected to conduct procurement of equipment and tug boats before the port breaks even and is declared economically viable.
President Uhuru Kenyatta in February gave strict orders for the then Cabinet secretary for Transport Michael Kamau to ensure work on the port goes according to set timelines with 2019 as the completion year.
Further an African Union agency has adopted the Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia (Lapsset) corridor as a regional flagship infrastructure project.
This will see more foreign countries fund the project, allaying fears by Mr Kasuku that the project could stall due to lack of funds.
AU has kept government on its toes giving updates on the transformation of the project after every six months.