Construction of the $400 million first phase of Kenya’s second commercial port in Lamu has been completed.
The second and third berths were completed in December, paving the way for the government to float a tender to private companies to construct 20 more berths under a public-private partnership to complete the 23-berth facility.
“The first three berths and yards at the Port of Lamu are now complete with plans to begin operations at berths 2 and 3 in 2022. KPA is acquiring modern equipment including three mobile harbour cranes and a ship to shore gantry cranes to complement operations at the Port,” the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) said.
Phase 1 was construction of the first three berths and associated infrastructure, each with a depth of 17.5 metres and a length of 400 metres. The three berths are designed to handle container, general and bulk cargo. KPA is optimistic over the prospects of Lamu port positioning as the regional transshipment hub following completion of the first phase which began in 2006.
The port, which was developed by China Communication Construction Company is crucial in addressing global logistical needs regionally as well as grow the country’s blue economy agenda.
In May 2021, President Uhuru Kenyatta inaugurated the first berth with most of the equipment (cranes, trailers, gantries, forklifts, spreader and oil spill response) borrowed from Mombasa port.
Since then, lack of sufficient yard operation equipment has forced Lamu to only attract ships that have their own gear for operations, ro/ro ships and motor vehicle carriers.
Lamu has so far handled nine vessels since May with a total of 1,619 twenty feet-equivalent units (TEUs) in its first berth.
KPA acting managing director John Mwangemi said discussions were underway with shipping lines and potential investors to identify incentives to make Lamu port a popular transshipment hub.
“The demand for global transshipment is there and KPA’s focus is to ensure modern equipment is bought to enhance turnaround time of cargo handling at Lamu port,” he stated.