Transport CS, James Macharia, announced on Tuesday 14 January 2020 that the berth in Lamu Port will be launched in mid-February 2020 by President Uhuru Kenyatta.
While speaking in Mombasa, the CS said that the first ship owned by Maersk Shipping Line would quay at the port during its launch, which will be graced by up to five heads of state.
During a regional ministerial meeting for the Lamu Port – South Sudan – Ethiopia – Transport project, Mr. Macharia said, “This is a continental project. We postponed it to give guests from even South Africa an opportunity to attend.”
He also said that the construction of two other berths would be accomplished by December 2020.
“We are addressing the security challenges to facilitate the completion of the project,” he added.
More than 1000 construction workers were suspended at Lamu port last week following the Al Shabab attack at the US-Kenya military base at Manda Bay Airfield, which is about 10 kilometers to the north of Lamu port.
The military base attack happened only days after the terror group had raided three buses at the Nyongoro area along the Garsen – Lamu road killing three passengers.
Presently, there is a multi-agency security team deployed in the area to comb Boni forest, which is believed to be the hiding place for the Al-Shabab.
China Communication Construction Company Limited, which is also building three other berths at the port, sent its workers home last week since they couldn’t guarantee their safety.
Yesterday, Mr. Macharia stated that work had recommenced as well as two other berths and roads, including the Lamu – Garsen highway, expected to be completed as planned.
The CS was addressing a regional ministerial meeting about the Lapsset corridor that has been raised to the Presidential Infrastructure Champion Initiative (PICI) under the Africa Union.
Participants from Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Kenya said that they would devise an organized approach to make the Lapsset projects more appealing to private investors.
Raila Odinga, who is the Africa Union High Representative in Infrastructure, said the Lapsset was essential in the realization of the East-West-Continental beltway.
Connecting Kenya Lamu Port to Cameroon’s seaports in Douala through Juba and Bangui, the beltway will facilitate the trade between West and East Africa.
“Lapsset is an idea whose time has come. We must re-energize the vision and give new impetus to the implementation of the Lapsset corridor,” said Raila.
Ethiopian ambassador to Kenya, Meles Alem, dismissed reports questioning Ethiopia on its commitment to the Lapsset implementation.
“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,” stated Mr. Alem.
He also said that his country had constructed two mega industrial parks already and was underway with a 500-kilometer road linking Addis Ababa to Kenya’s Moyale.
Transport Minister for South Sudan, David Hassan, also said his government was committed to the construction of the road linking Juba to Cameroon.