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Maritime experts fault Lapsset project

By Benard Sanga | December 6th 2013

By Benard Sanga

Maritime experts have said the Lamu Port-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transit Corridor (Lapsset) project has failed to attract private investors because its business model is flawed.

They argued there was need for the Government to re-evaluate the project’s business model to encompass the current global shipping trend.

Currently, the project is largely spearheaded by the Lapsset Development Authority that was formed last year through a presidential decree. Experts said the project should have been carried out by Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), which is the entity legally mandated to construct and operate ports and harbours.

Creates fear

 “These issues that the Government may see as minor matter a lot to investors. The project was once under Vision 2030 secretariat, then moved to the Prime Minister’s office before it was moved to the Ministry of Transport and now is under the Lapsset authority. These are ambiguities that an investor sees when he is doing his due diligence and it creates fears,” said Sternly Chai, a maritime economist at Ultimate Marine Consultants. President Uhuru Kenyatta’s administration is currently selling the project to international investors. “The rail, pipeline and road should have been priority because even if the berths were completed, cargo won’t fly from Ethiopia to Lamu,” said Juma Tellah, the CEO of Kenya Ships Agents Association.


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