Construction of Lamu Port in Kenya is set to begin early next year, according to Transport Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere.
Mr Mwakwere said on Wednesday that the government has allocated US$45 million to the Lamu port project, adding that some of the funds had come from the controversial sale of the former Grand Regency hotel.
The minister told reporters that construction work for the port, planned to be bigger than that of Mombasa, is scheduled to start in February 2010.
“It is a port which will be bigger than Mombasa (port). Construction work according to our schedule should start in February 2010,” Mwakwere said.
“Everything remaining equal, we should have the first ships calling at the Port of Lamu in Manda Bay by the end of 2011, when we shall have two or three berths ready to pick up or deliver cargo.”
The project will be part of a broader US$22 billion Lapsset (Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport Corridor) development plan that includes railway lines, a pipeline, roads and airports to open up the northern part of the country and link east Africa’s biggest economy with Sudan and Ethiopia.
The minister said there will be a highway and rail link joining Lamu with Lokichoggio, close to the border with Sudan in the northwest, and another to link it with Moyale in the north, close to the Ethiopian border.