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Lamu port ready for use in February : The Standard




South Sudan Transport PS Martin Hassan, African Union High Representative for Infrastructure Raila Odinga and Kenya’s Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia after signing a deal on Lapsset in Mombasa. [Gideon Maundu, Standard]

President Uhuru Kenyatta will in mid next month launch the first berth in Lamu Port, Transport Cabinet Secretary James Macharia announced yesterday.


Speaking in Mombasa, Mr Macharia said the first ship – owned by Maersk Shipping Line – would also dock at the port during the official launch to be graced by up to five heads of state.
“This is a continental project. We postponed to give guests from even South Africa an opportunity to attend,” he said during a regional ministerial meeting on Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (Lapsset) project.
Macharia said construction of second and third berths would be completed by December. “We are addressing the security challenges to facilitate the completion of the project.”
SEE ALSO :The curse of handshakeLast week, more than 1,000 construction works at Lamu port were suspended after Al Shabaab militants attacked a United States military base at Manda Bay airstrip, 10km north of the port.
The invasion at the military base took place days after the militants also attacked three buses at the Nyongoro area on the Garsen-Lamu road and killed three passengers. A multi-agency security team is currently combing the expansive Boni Forest believed to be the militants’ hiding ground.
Last week, the China Communications Construction Company, Ltd, which is building the first three berths at the port, sent its employees home, saying it could not guarantee their security.
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Yesterday Macharia said work had resumed and construction of two more berths and roads, including the Lamu-Garsen highway, would be completed as scheduled.
He was addressing the regional ministerial meeting on the Lapsset corridor, which has been elevated to a Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative (PICI) under the African Union.
SEE ALSO :Uhuru to open Naivasha SGR stationParticipants from Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan said they would fashion a coordinated approach to make Lapsset projects attractive to private investors.
Africa Union High Representative on Infrastructure Raila Odinga said Lapsset was key to the realisation of the East-West Trans-Continental beltway.
The beltway will connect Kenya’s Lamu Port to Cameroon’s seaports in Douala via Juba and Bangui to facilitate trade between East and West Africa. “Lapsset is an idea whose time has come. We must re-energise the vision and give new impetus to the implementation of the Lapsset corridor,” said Raila.
Meles Alem, the Ethiopian ambassador to Kenya, dismissed reports questioning his country’s commitment to implementation of Lapsset.
“Ethiopia is not backtracking on Lapsset. Our commitment to this project is not hinged on diplomatic consideration, it is about the economic benefit of our people,” said Mr Alem.
SEE ALSO :Uhuru, Raila to attend Russia-Africa summitHe said Ethiopia had already constructed two mega industrial parks and was constructing a 500-kilometre road connecting Addis Ababa to Moyale in Kenya.
South Sudan Transport Minister David Hassan said his government was also committed to constructing the road from Juba to Cameroon.

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President Uhuru KenyattaAl ShabaabTransportRaila Odinga

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