Kenyan authorities are set to construct and put into use another port in Lamu, latest by 2011.
The new port, which has been previously announced, has had US$45 million allocated to its construction, according to Kenya’s Transport Minister Chirau Ali Mwakere, who also added that the new port would be larger than the port of Mombasa and that construction is due to commence in February 2010.
“Everything being equal, we should have the first ships calling at the Port of Lamu in Manda Bay by the end of 2011, when we shall have two to three berths ready to pick up or deliver cargo,” he said last week.
The minister explained that the new port will be part of a larger $22 billion project aimed at providing a transport link between Kenya and Ethiopia and South Sudan. This includes construction of a highway and a railway connecting Lamu with Lokichokio near the Sudan border, with another shorter route linking it with Moyale in the north on the Ethiopian border from where an existing paved highway extends to Addis Ababa.
“Ethiopia has already constructed their railway line to Moyale and ours is under construction,” the minister said.
He added that major airports in Lamu, Isiolo, Lokichokio and Moyale will be created, along with a pipeline to carry oil from South Sudan to the new port.
He said that Kenya has already advertised for companies interested in undertaking the port construction, saying that he was confident that construction would be underway by February 2010.
Lamu residents have accused the Kenyan government of a lack of transparency with its plans to build a new port at Lamu, saying there has been no consultation with local inhabitants while accusing government ministers of quietly buying up property in the area.