Kenya has invited bids for the design and construction of three berths at its second port at Lamu on the northern coast, the head of the Kenya Ports Authority said yesterday. The $5.3 billion port is part of a $23 billion transport corridor project to link Lamu to Ethiopia and newly independent South Sudan, bringing investment and much-needed jobs to the region. It also includes the construction of a railway, pipeline, highway, airport and refinery.
Gichiri Ndua, managing director of KPA, said the request for expressions of interest was open to local and international firms. As well as cutting over-reliance on Kenya's existing Mombasa port, the project is aimed at deepening trade in east Africa and opening up northern Kenya, a vast area whose economy lags behind the rest of the country.
The port is part of a wider project to create a second transport corridor in Kenya, linking Lamu at the north coast with Ethiopia and newly independent South Sudan. It also involves the construction of a 1,260 km crude oil pipeline from South Sudan and a 980 km product pipeline to Ethiopia through the Kenyan town of Moyale. Its ultimate goal is to have a 20-berth port at Lamu, 1,710 km of standard gauge railway and a 120,000 barrels per day refinery at Lamu.
The port will be built at Manda Bay, which juts out towards the islands of Lamu, Manda and Pate, with their pristine mangrove forests and protected heritage sites. An 880 km highway will be built as well as an international airport at Lamu. The project also envisages the creation of three resort cities in Lamu, Isiolo and Lake Turkana. It will also create a metropolis at Lamu with a population of half a million in 2030. Processing zones for agricultural products will be established in Lamu in the area around the proposed port.