Kenya is running three months behind official schedule in its effort to build East and Central Africa’s largest port at Lamu.
Officials say the first of the 32 berths will be ready in June, three months after its initial timeline of March.
So far, the first berth of the Lamu Port South Sudan Ethiopia Transport (Lapsset) Corridor Project in Kililana, Lamu West is only 42 per cent complete, officials have said.
The country's Transport Permanent Secretary Paul Maringa and Lapsset director- general Silvester Kasuku however told journalists during a tour of the port site on Thursday that the national government is committed to ensuring a speedy construction of the entire Ksh2.5 trillion ($24.6 billion) project.
“We are happy that the port construction has taken shape very well and it’s now at 42 per cent complete. We are sure that the first berth will be complete by June this year,” said Prof Maringa
He however maintained that the two other berths will be completed within the official schedule of 2020. Kenya had decided to complete the three berths before opening the other components of the corridor to private capital through public private partnerships.
Prof Maringa said the government has been pumping Ksh14 billion ($138.3 million) per year into the port project which is set to dwarf Mombasa’s 16-berth harbour.
The money is being spent directly on the port and development of the appropriate road infrastructure connections that will link it to the rest of the country and outside world.
“We are putting in all our best efforts to ensure the project comes to fruition and at the exact time it should be up,” said Mr Kasuku.
The Lapsset headquarters that cost Ksh866 million ($8.5 million) and the port police station have so far been completed.
The project has seven main components which include a 32-berth modern port, transportation hubs for rail, highway and international airports in Lamu, Isiolo and Lodwar, an oil pipeline from South Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia to Lamu Port, an oil refinery and three resort cities in Isiolo, Lamu and Turkana.