The Kenyan government has invited bids to design and construct three births at the Sh450 billion Lamu port, located at Manda Bay on the northern coast.
The contracts are part of a 32-berth port planned to be built under the Sh2 trillion Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia-Transport (LAPSSET) corridor to link Lamu to South Sudan and Ethiopia by a super-highway, a railway and a pipeline.
Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) managing director Gichiri Ndua said interested companies are free to form consortia or joint ventures to allow them to meet the requirements of the expression of interest (EOI), which is open to both local and international companies.
KPA is the implementing agency for the Lamu port project which is expected to be five times larger than the existing port of Mombasa.
On completion, the three berths will have the capacity to handle 100,000dwt of bulk cargo and 30,000dwt of general cargo.
Groundbreaking for the project was held on March 2, in a ceremony that was attended by Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir.
The ultimate goal of the project is to have a 20-berth port, 1700km of new highways, 1600km of modern railways and a 120,000 barrels per day refinery at Lamu.
The port will be constructed at Manda Bay, which juts out towards the islands of Pate, Manda and Lamu, chosen for its size and deep waters capable of accommodating large vessels.
The LAPSSET project also envisages the establishment of three resort cities in Isiolo, Lamu and Lokichoggio near Lake Turkana, construction of airports in the resort cities and development of associated infrastructure such as a 1,100MW power line and a 185 km water supply line.
Although LAPSSET is a 20-year project, most of the projects are expected to be completed by 2015. China is believed to be a major stakeholder in the project, which is funded by international lenders, regional financial institutions and the governments of Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa.