The new Lamu Port in Kenya took a big step towards completion yesterday with the announcement that its first of 22 berths is finished.
According to the South Sudan and Ethiopia Transport Corridor Development Authority, the second and third berths will be completed by December 2020.
Once operational, it will be the biggest deep-sea port in East Africa and cost approximately USD$19 billion and be a vital part of the proposed Lamu Port and Lamu-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET), a project designed to boost regional trade.
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It is designed to open up the northern part of the country and connect it to the crucial Europe-Asia shipping lanes, rapidly increase intra-continental trade and create new economic opportunities in agriculture, manufacturing, logistics and transport.
As well as that, it will seek to attract larger cargo ships than the region has seen before and cut marine costs by turning said vessels around faster.
Cargo which will have previously passed through Sudan, Djibouti or Mombassa will, the government hopes, be transported through Lamu. Initial forecasts suggest that cargo traffic along LAPSSET from South Sudan and Ethiopia will reach 23.9 million tonnes by the end of the next decade.
As well as LAPSSET, the new port is a fundamental component of Kenya’s Vision 2030, a government initiative to increase Kenya’s presence in international trade; furthermore, it is expected to contribute at least 1.5% of Kenya’s gross domestic product (GDP).