enya National Highway Authority (KeNHA) has signed a deal with China Communication Construction Company Ltd to construct Lamu-Ijara-Garissa road, a huge boost to LAPPSET corridor development.
The 257 Kilometres road will be constructed in 36 months. In the deal, there are two other associated spur roads. One will stretch from Hindu-Bodhei- Basuba-Kiunga, which is 113 Km while the second one from Ijara-Sangailu-Hulugho will be 83 Km. The entire project will cost Sh 17.96 billion.
This is expected to be connected to Isiolo hence interconnecting the region, spurring regional trade and enhancing economic development.
The 505KM Lapsset Highway from Isiolo to Moyale was completed over 4 years ago and has significantly transformed transportation enabling faster and cost-effective movement of goods and people along the new corridor.
The Moyale One Stop Border Point (OSBP) was launched last year by President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Dr Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister, the Federal Republic of Ethiopia.
The border point is part of the LAPSSET project, and is situated approximately 800 Kilometres North of Nairobi, and 780 Kilometres South of Addis Ababa.
Construction of the Moyale OSBP was part of the US$ 329 million project that included construction to bitumen standard 438 Kilometres road from Merille River to Moyale in Kenya and 300 Kilometres roads’ sections in Ethiopia.
An official at Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) recently told China’s Xinhua news agency that the long awaited Lamu seaport will open for business in June this year.
Bernard Osero, KPA’s head of corporate affairs, said the government had prioritised Lamu as the means of linking east and west Africa by road and rail.
“Lamu port will specialise in handling containers and oil cargo between the east African hinterland and the rest of the world … and will enable Kenya to become a gateway of choice for Ethiopia, South Sudan and Somalia,” he said.
When originally conceived in 2012, Lamu was to be a massive, 16-year scheme that would require around $3bn in investment to produce one of the biggest ports in the world.
It was to be able to handle 24 million containers a year, which would make it the fourth busiest port in the world in 2020, after Shenzhen, Singapore and Shanghai.
CCCC’s contract was to build the first three of 32 berths for $480m. The first berth was completed in August 2019, and work was to have been completed last year, a timetable that was put back by the Covid-19 pandemic. Work is under way now to install cranage and other equipment.
KPA now has to find investors for the other 29 berths. Danish shipping giant Maersk is among the carriers interested in playing a role in future expansions, including a special economic zone for manufacturers.