By John Oyuke
The Government has invited bids for the design and construction of three berths at its second port at Lamu, part of the 32 to be constructed under the ambitious Lamu Port-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Trans port Corridor Project (Lappset).
The Sh445.2 billion ($5.3b) Port is part of the Sh2 trillion ($23 b) trans port corridor project, a key flagship project identified in the Vision 2030, to link Lamu to Ethiopia and newly independent South Sudan.
Apart from the port, Lappset includes 1,600 km of modern railways, 1,700 km of new highways, three international air ports and resort cities. As a first phase of the Lamu Port Project, the Government plans to construct the first three berths with associated infrastructure at Manda Bay.
Managing Director of Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), the implementing Agency for the Port Project, Gichiri Ndua, said that the request for expressions of interest was open to local and international firms. “Interested firms may form consortium or joint ventures to enable them meet the requirements of the expression of interest,” he said.
The project is aimed at deepening trade in east Africa and opening up northern Kenya. Presidents Salva Kiir (South Sudan), Kibaki and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi (Ethiopia) launched the Lamu mega port project estimated to cost more than $23 billion early this year.
The committee tasked with the responsibility for overall coordination of the projects implementation contends the three inaugural berths are designed to handle 30,000 Dead Weigh Tonnage (DWT) and 100,000 DWT for general and bulk and container cargo respectively.
The development of the three berths at Manda Bay that are large and deep enough to accommodate large vessels is crucial for im portation of building materials for the other project components.
President Kibaki recently called on South Korea to invest in the multibillion shillings Lamu Port and the Lamu-South Sudan-Ethiopia Trans port corridor as part of soliciting for financial sup port for the project when he met the visiting South Korean Prime Minister Kim Hwang-Sik.