Feasibility study a second port in Lamu

A Japanese company has won a Government tender to carry out a feasibility study on the proposed construction of a second port in Lamu, which maritime experts hope will position the country as a major transhipment hub.

The company – Japan Port Consultants — is expected to finish negotiations with the government this week to begin the study expected to take about 10 months, according to Transport ministry chief economist and head of planning, Mr Alfred Kitolo.

The government has already allocated Sh500 million this financial year to the project, he said.

“We have identified the firm and we are now trying to have an understanding on the terms of reference before the project commences,” Mr Kitolo told Business Daily in a telephone interview.

International companies that pre-qualified to carry out feasibility studies submitted their proposals to the ministry last year and the Japan Port Consultants has emerged as the best evaluated firm.

The ministry had sought proposals for the study on the development of the port and Lamu-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) which is expected to start next year.

The study will involve development of a master plan and design works for the project.

The government’s lead consultant on the second transport corridor, Dr Mutule Kilonzo, in an earlier interview said that the government’s main task will be to develop the designs for the project which according to estimates will take five per cent of the project’s cost.

The construction will be funded through government-private sector partnership.

“The project is estimated to cost $16 billion but the actual cost will be known when the feasibility studies are complete,” Dr Mutule said.

“There are so many investors and governments that have expressed desire to fund various components of the project and once the feasibility study is ready, it will take us less than an year to seek partners,” Dr Mutule said.

The port is expected to have a total of 22 berths with a quay that will lie on 1,000 acres.

It will serve the Ethiopian market, currently served by Djibouti port and Southern Sudan which relies on Port Sudan.

The project has other components which include a super highway that will connect Lamu to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Juba in Southern Sudan.

The three regions will also be connected with a standard gauge railway line to allow faster trains, according to the plans.

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