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Govt ready to start work on first berths at northern port

27 March 2015, 13:25

Nairobi -  Kenya is ready to begin work on the first three berths at a long-delayed port on its northern coast, next to the historic trading town of Lamu, President Uhuru Kenyatta said in his annual State of the Nation address on Thursday.

The Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) project, first proposed in the 1970s, will give landlocked South Sudan and Ethiopia access to the Indian Ocean and bolster the economy of northern Kenya.

"The administrative infrastructure for this project is complete, and I will in the next few days break ground on the construction of the initial three berths of Lamu port," Kenyatta told a gathering of Parliament.

In 2013, officials said a consortium led by China Communications Construction Co Ltd had won a 41 billion shilling ($445.65 million) contract to build the first three berths, but there has been little sign of activity since then.

Read Also: Full State of the Nation address by president Uhuru Kenyatta

Regional integration was a central theme of Kenyatta's speech, as he hailed the country's robust economic growth.

The president highlighted his government's efforts to improve transit times to Kampala and Kigali and streamlining customs procedures between the region's major hubs.

It now takes three days for goods to transit from Mombasa, Kenya's biggest port, to Kampala and four days to Kigali, down from 18 and 20 days respectively, he said.

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- Reuters


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