The once vibrant Kisumu Port is getting a major facelift as contractors rush to ensure it is ready for commissioning in three months.
The government will spend Sh2.5 billion on the project, having already dispatched Sh500 million.
Heavy machines are at the facility awaiting for completion of surveys and designs before they start work.
Kenya Ports Authority is planning to construct 1,000-capacity container yard and rehabilitate the Kisumu pier to make it the hub of trade in East Africa.
The ongoing rehabilitation of the port, construction of a 8.8 million litres capacity oil jetty expected to transform Kisumu into the East African region’s petroleum export hub, the construction of a ship assembling yard, a dry dock, and an industrial park are some of the key projects lined up in a grand economic revival plan for the region.
Presidents Uhuru Kenyatta, accompanied by Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Felix Tshisekedi of DR Congo will commission the port.
On Monday, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia and his Trade counterpart Peter Munya accompanied African Union High Commissioner for Infrastructure Raila Odinga on a tour of the project.
During the tour, KPA managing director Daniel Manduku revealed that they will automate services at Kisumu pier to complement the port of Mombasa.
The government has also laid out plans to refurbish Kisumu’s dry dock, which is the biggest in Africa.
Before its fortunes dwindled, this is where most of the ships that used to ply Lake Victoria like SS Usoga, SS Nyanza, SS Ukerewe, MV Victoria and MV Uhuru, among others, were manufactured.
While the government completed the construction of Sh1.9 billion Kisumu oil jetty in June last year, Kenya Pipeline Company will have to wait for two more months to start exporting petroleum products to the neighbouring countries because Uganda is yet to complete theirs.
Petroleum Cabinet Secretary John Munyes has given the facility a clean bill of health, dismissing claims that substandard work has been done.