Design work for the first three of Lamu Port’s 32 berths is complete, and construction will start after next week’s groundbreaking ceremony.
Transport permanent secretary Cyrus Njiru said each of the three berths will cover a distance of 240 metres and will be able to accommodate three Post-Panamax ships.
World heritage site
Briefing Prime Minister Raila Odinga on the progress of the preliminary works, ahead of the ground breaking ceremony on March 2, Dr Njiru said the berths will be built on Shakalabati Island, which is sandwiched by Manda, Toto and Pate islands.
“The berths will be far from Manda Island and the main Lamu Island, which is a world heritage site.
“In the beginning, we shall have multi-purpose berths, but as we proceed, we shall have separate berths for containers and conventional cargo,” Dr Njiru told the PM.
“The three berths will be built in the sea because the island is a natural harbour. We shall also dredge the channel,” he added.
He also revealed that the water space between Hindi /Magogo and Shakalabati Island will be reclaimed and a causeway built to join the sea port and the transport corridor linking Lamu, Isiolo and Juba in South Sudan.
Dr Njiru said the Lamu Port, Ethiopia and South Sudan Transport Corridor (Lapset) will be a joint investment of the three governments.
High speed trains
“That is why we shall have one plaque jointly unveiled by Presidents Mwai Kibaki and Salva Kiir and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi during ground breaking ceremony,” he said.
Besides the port, the project incorporates an oil refinery at Lamu and a 1,720-kilometre standard gauge railway line to Juba to handle high speed trains, which can travel at 160km per hour.
Also envisioned is a two-lane highway from Lamu through Isiolo to Nakodok, a pipeline to transport crude oil from South Sudan to a refinery in Lamu, three airports at Lamu, Isiolo and Lokichogio and resort cities at Lamu, Isiolo and the shores of Lake Turkana.