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美国: Rep KE
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)

Status 2008/Planned Contruction

Kenya and Qatar have opened negotiations on the construction of a port in Lamu, Coast Province.

The port is estimated to cost 3.5 billion US dollars.

President Kibaki held a successful round of talks with the Emir of the State of Qatar, His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalif Al Thani, where he presented the strong proposal.

The Emir assured President Kibaki that his Government was keen on the Lamu project as it seeks to diversify its international investment portfolio.

The State of Qatar and Kenya will also open negotiations that will lead to construction of the Garsen-Lamu Road.

Kenya has also offered Qatar a partnership in sovereign bond through which Kenya hopes to raise billions of shillings for infrastructure development.

President Kibaki thanked the Emir for the warm welcome that Kenyans have received in his State that currently hosts close to 2,000 Kenyans.

President Kibaki also invited the Emir to visit Kenya.

Present were ministers: Moses Wetang’ula (Foreign), John Michuki (Environment), Chirau Ali Makwere (Transport), Wycliffe Oparanya (Planning) and the Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Mr Thuita Mwangi, among other senior Government officials.

Meanwhile, the President has said Kenya plans to open a Kenyan Embassy in Doha, Qatar.

Saying that the number of Kenyans living and working in Qatar has increased substantially, the President underscored the urgent need for an embassy in order to facilitate access to consular services.

Addressing Kenyans residing in Doha, Qatar, Sunday evening at the end of his three day official visit to the country, President Kibaki said that his Government appreciates the significant contribution Kenyans working in Qatar are making towards Kenya’s development through remittances which amount to over 720 million Kenya Shillings per year.

He said his Government has put into place sound policies to create an enabling environment for Kenyans in Diaspora to participate fully and contribute to the development of their motherland.

“Kenyans in the Diaspora have an important role to play in building our country. Through your vast experiences gained in the course of your travel and work in the countries you are residing in, and through your expertise and resources, you are well placed to make a significant impact in the development of our country.”

On tourism, President Kibaki said his Government is pursuing aggressive measures to woo foreigners to visit Kenya, saying tourism is one of the key sectors that will contribute to the realisation of Kenya’s Vision 2030.

Addressing Kenyans, Foreign Affairs Minister Moses Wetangula urged Kenyans in Diaspora to be ambassadors of goodwill saying they had a moral duty to play in safeguarding the image and interests of the country abroad.

 

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BROKEN ARROWS
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So the land deal was approved?
 

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美国: Rep KE
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Discussion Starter #3
So the land deal was approved?
The Project has already been approved by the government and the legislative arm. Feasibility study for the port has been very positive give it or take one year this project should hit the ground any moment.
 

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BROKEN ARROWS
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so the farmlands will be allocated to Qatar, that was part of the deal for some farmlands near the coast?
 

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美国: Rep KE
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Discussion Starter #5
so the farmlands will be allocated to Qatar, that was part of the deal for some farmlands near the coast?
Actually that is another project alltogether though discussed in the same vein, it is supposed to be in Tana-river delta in the upper coast and thats miles away from lamu.
 

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so the farmlands will be allocated to Qatar, that was part of the deal for some farmlands near the coast?
Qatar agreed to develop 40,000 acres of land for Kenya on top of the 40,000 allocated to them.They were asking for 100,000 but lots of controversy arose leading both parties settling at 40,000 each and a port at Lamu.
 

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美国: Rep KE
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Discussion Starter #9
The Govt has given it a green light



Lamu port set to be a growth catalyst Chirau Ali Mwakwere, Kenya’s Minister for Transport

By GITHUA KIHARA
Posted Monday, June 15 2009 at 00:00

A second oil refinery with a capacity to process 120,000 barrels of oil per day will be constructed in Lamu at the Kenya Coast, to meet the growing demand for oil products in the region.

Dr Mutule Kilonzo, the lead consultant of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Second Transport corridor, said the refinery will be built at the new port of Lamu whose construction is expected to begin next year.

It will largely refine crude oil from Southern Sudan and other parts of the world to serve the larger East African market.

“It will be set up as a merchant refinery that essentially entails being able to refine crude oil for any new comer for a fee,” Dr Kilonzo said.

“Southern Sudan does not wish to continue its dependence on the North for obvious reasons. In principle, an alternative oil pipeline is needed and Kenya will be the place to put up that pipeline,” said Dr Kilonzo.

Southern Sudan currently exports its oil through a 1,600-kilometres pipeline connecting its oilfields to the Red Sea at Port Sudan, while in comparison, the proposed Lamu to Juba pipeline will be 1,500km.

It is therefore proposed that the pipeline be constructed alongside a railway line linking the Southern Sudan oilfields to the proposed Lamu Free Port.

The entire second transport corridor — of a super railway line stretching from Lamu, passing through Garissa, Isiolo, Mararal, Lodwar, and Lokichoggio and branching from Isiolo to Juba, Addis Ababa and Nairobi — dubbed ROOLA, has other components to be implemented jointly with the pipeline, the railway line and the port.

Among these are a super highway that will connect Lamu to Addis Ababa and Juba in Southern Sudan.

A fibre optic infrastructure to link the entire corridor will also be laid and international airports constructed in Lamu, Isiolo and Lokichoggio, three important centers along the new transport corridor.

The three centers will also be made resort cities, Dr Kilonzo said.

According to the director of Shipping and Maritime Affairs at Kenya’s Ministry of Transport Peter Thuo, the government has started the tendering process for the project, which is expected to cost $16 billion

“We are currently reviewing international and local bid that were submitted in the expression-of-interest stage to carry out feasibility studies on the project,” Mr Thuo said.

The shortlisted bidders will be required to submit detailed bids for provision of financial and technical services.

The project will be implemented through a public private partnership according to Mr Thuo. Once the feasibility studies are complete, said Mr Thuo, it will be easy to seek implementing partners.

According to Dr Kilonzo, partners will be sought based on specific components of the project.

Although the government of Qatar had shown AN interest in funding the construction of the Lamu port in return for 100,000 acres of land at the Tana Delta to grow fruits and vegetables, Kenya’s Minister for Transport Chirau Ali Mwakwere early this year said that other options were also being explored after the move drew mixed reactions, adding however that the government was keen on implementing the project.

“Some investors may only be interested in financing one component of the project, like say the railway line,” Dr Kilonzo said.

He said that various countries among them India, the United Arab Emirates, the US and Qatar have already shown interest in financing the project which was first mooted in 1975. The railway line has already been incorporated in the East African Railway master plan,” Dr Kilonzo said.

The Lamu refinery will refine some of the crude oil for the sub-regional market while the rest will be exported. Sophisticated cargo handling equipments will also be put up to facilitate tanker loading in the high seas.

The port plan also features a second pipeline to be constructed from the Lamu refinery to Addis Ababa to deliver refined oil products to Ethiopia.

A branch of a pipeline is also being considered to join Lamu to the existing Mombasa-Kampala pipeline to transport oil products to Uganda.

“But this will be decided once the planned pipelines are complete,” said Dr Kilonzo.

Uganda, which is a landlocked country relying on Mombasa port, has already planned to go-ahead with the construction of a refinery for the two billion barrels of crude reserves recently found on its territory, according to Uganda’s energy minister.

Investor interest is already heating up for Uganda’s oil discoveries since explorers — Tullow Oil and Heritage Oil — discovered hydrocarbons in the Lake Albert region bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo. Kampala expects to start pumping oil from next year.

Kenya, Dr Kilonzo said, provides an ideal gateway to the sub-region with a well-developed port as well as its increasingly diversified aerodrome network.

Southern Sudan, a recent addition to the family of peaceful nations, is expected to be a huge exporter of oil, which is more economic if refined at the port of exit, Dr Kilonzo said.

The government, he said, will also commission a study soon to explore the feasibility of extending the railway line as well as the pipeline from Juba to Bangui in Central Africa and onward to Yaoundé in Cameroon.
 

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美国: Rep KE
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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Investors scramble for Lamu prime land

The listing of Lamu as a World Heritage Site coupled with plans to build Kenya’s second port in the area have resulted in the escalation of land and property prices. Local speculators who act as linkmen between residents and foreign buyers have been doing a roaring business.

Expected boom
According to the National Museums of Kenya (NMK), the custodians of heritage sites such as Shella, Ras Kitau, Kipungani, Manda and Lamu Town, the archipelago has become a popular hunting ground for property speculators, especially foreign investors who want to cash in on the expected boom.


Mombasa

Coast region NMK assistant director Athman Hussein said plots that used to sell for between Sh2 million and Sh3 million have shot up to between Sh5 million and Sh10 million.“Most investors were attracted by the rich cultural heritage that heralds a new clientele comprising rich Europeans who are mainly interested in a serene environment.

“As demand grew, some local people sold their dilapidated houses in the old town to foreign investors for tidy sums,” Mr Hussein said. Similarly, the fortunes of property owners in the mainland have changed substantially following the announcement that the government was planning to build a new port in the area. The properties are mainly abandoned farms.

“Areas such as Mokowe, Hindi and Kililana on the periphery of Magogoni, the proposed site of the new port, have suddenly assumed new significance and land there is a gem,” he said. An acre now sells for up to Sh2 million, according to Mr Mohamed Athman, a former councillor.

The listing of Lamu as a World Heritage Site was not by accident. According to a Unesco report, it had all the qualities to join world famous sites such as the Egyptian pyramids and hanging gardens of Babylon in Iraq.

“The architecture and urban structure of Lamu graphically demonstrates the cultural influences that have come together over several hundred years from Europe, Arabia and India, utilising Swahili techniques to produce a distinct culture. It is the oldest and best preserved Swahili settlement in East Africa,” says Unesco.

And before the excitement over the listing of Lamu died down, news that the second port in Kenya would be built on the archipelago brought a new flood of investors and speculators who will spare nothing to get a piece of the action. Speculators, who have vast interests in the maritime business, have taken strategic positions and want to control the politics of the area in order to have their way.

This explains the intrigues surrounding elections to choose the Lamu county council chairman. Control of the council would mean that the goodies that are anticipated with the multi-billion- shilling project will be within easy reach.

Land sharks
But a major cause of concern to Lamu residents is the decision by the government to retain land ownership in the area.

This, said the chairman of Shungwaya Welfare Association, Mr Mohamed Bwana made it easy for land sharks to collude with unscrupulous government officials to acquire land and title deeds.

“It is interesting and sad to note that though locals do not have title deeds because the land is classified as government owned, tycoons have acquired deeds and are threatening to evict residents who have been there for years.

Already barred

“Only the council can save the situation by refusing these people permission to develop the plots,” he said. The chairman of the town planning committee, Mr Ali Bunu, said the council has barred any development on land near the water catchment area in Shella and will do the same with all the other parcels of land on the island.

And as speculators scramble for land in Lamu, a new phenomenon has emerged. Informal settlements are mushrooming on the town’s outskirts where low-income earners and some of those who sold their property have set up homes.

Infor: Nation.co.ke
 

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美国: Rep KE
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Discussion Starter #11
Anticipated Project



"The proposed port development at Lamu is a big project by any standards. It will include a railway network connecting the Southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Central Africa Republic and possibly Cameroon and Chad, an oil pipeline from Southern Sudan to the port, an international airport and a free trade zone......beyond this impressive statistics on the port itself the terrestrial projects on land are even more impressive.

The game changer is a plan to build a standard gauge railway from Lamu to Sudan onwards to Central Africa Republic, and finally Cameroon. The railway developments do not stop there, it is proposed to build a line to Uganda, Rwanda and possibly DRC and Congo Brazzaville. Their will also be a branch to the 80 million strong population of Ethiopia. If all that infrastructure is built it will be the largest investment of railways in Sub-saharan Africa ever.
Infor: vcafrica.ning.com
 

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美国: Rep KE
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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Lamu: The Place

Founded in the 7th century, Lamu still reflects the image of an old Arab dhow port. Swahili culture has deep roots in Lamu and its evidence can be seen everywhere. The old 18th century stone buildings of the town display the richly carved, hand finished, doors and furniture reflective of coastal Arab/Swahili architecture. In the town, women dressed in the traditional bui-bui mingle with donkey caravans. The narrow streets do not allow any traffic other than the almost 4000 donkeys which here take the place of cars, Lorries and taxis. Beyond the town, at sea, fisherman passes in their classic dhows with huge triangular sails giving Lamu the atmosphere of the busy days of the past.

Lamu Town Island and archipelago all of the same name, lie 2degrees below the equator along Kenya’s coast. The archipelago is a chain of islands separated from the mainland by a narrow channel bordered with dense mangrove forest and protected from the Indian Ocean by coral reefs and large sand dunes. The many historical sites are proof of the areas long and rich history which, when combined with all the natural attraction of its tropical setting, makes Lamu a wonderful place to visit.

lamuparadiseholidays.com

Photos





panoramo

KCB -Lamu
 

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美国: Rep KE
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Discussion Starter #14
Kenya to construct second port by 2011

20 APRIL 2009 | BY WAWUNDA MWANGASHA

Port of Lamu


The Kenya government has said it will start building a second port at the coastal town of Lamu next year. Transport Minister Chirau Ali Mwakwere said on Wednesday that the government has allocated US$45 million to the project, adding that some of the funds had come from the controversial sale of the former Grand Regency hotel.

Mr Makwere told reporters that construction work for the port, planned to be bigger than that of Mombasa, is scheduled to start in February 2010. “It is a port which will be bigger than Mombasa (port). Construction work according to our schedule should start in February 2010,” Mwakwere said.

“Everything remaining equal, we should have the first ships calling at the Port of Lamu in Manda Bay by the end of 2011, when we shall have two or three berths ready to pick up or deliver cargo.”

Lamu port project will be part of a broader US$22 billion development plan that includes railway lines, a pipeline, roads and airports to open up the northern part of the country and link east Africa’s biggest economy with Sudan and Ethiopia. The minister said there will be a highway and rail link joining Lamu with Lokichoggio, close to the border with Sudan in the northwest, and another to link it with Moyale in the north, close to the Ethiopian border.

www.constructionkenya.com
 

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Grain firms urged to eye Lamu

Investors have been urged to build grain handling facilities at the proposed Lamu port and other areas.

Transport minister Chirau Mwakwere said businesspeople should not concentrate on the Kilindini port as it had no room for an additional grain handling facility.

“Most of the investors think the government is giving monopoly to the Grain Bulk Handlers Limited (GBHL) by not allowing other investors to set up their grain handling facilities but the government is protecting the area to ensure there is no congestion at the port,” the minister said on Monday.

Mr Mwakwere, who is also Matuga MP, said no investor had a monopoly in grain handling since there were other companies that imported grains. Currently, 39 per cent of grain at the Kilindini port is handled by other companies, he added.

He was speaking in Kwale Town after meeting area councillors who had asked him to clear the air on the planned privatisation of the port.

The councillors, led by the county council chairman Mshenga Ruga, said they feared that such a move would lead to sacking of workers and putting the resources in private hands.

“The government is ready to license even more than five grain handlers to invest in other areas such as Dongo Kundu and the proposed port in Lamu, where the future of maritime business lies,” said the minister.

He told investors wishing to set up shop in the two areas to submit their applications. Those already in business, the minister said, should prepare for stiffer competition, as investors would be putting in money on modern and sophisticated equipment for grain handling and other services.

“We encourage other investors to come in with modern equipment to compete with GBHL since the dredging of Dongo Kundu is scheduled to start in December this year while the Lamu port will be constructed by 2013,” said the minister.

Mr Mwakwere said some steps had been taken to ensure Lamu port was built within the stipulated time.
 

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美国: Rep KE
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Discussion Starter #16
Escape to Lamu: Paradise on Kenya's Coast

Sail, Swim, Fish, Snorkel and Simply Unwind on the Timeless African Island
By OLIVIA STERNS
Sept. 23, 2008


Just south of the equator, tucked along Kenya's lush, tropical coast, a tiny island called Lamu has kept the modern world at bay. The archipelago of Lamu offers breathtaking beaches and an upscale hippie retreat from modern life. In this photo dhow sailboats await guests at the Peponi hotel in Shella village.
(The Peponi hotel and Srj Demotta. )
More PhotosOnce a thriving Arab port, this sleepy, exotic Swahili town now gets by on donkeys and sailing vessels called "dhows" and has little desire for an upgrade.

Visitors often describe Lamu as an African Ibiza, an intoxicating mix of Portuguese, Omani and Swahili culture, popular with British aristocrats. "Its greatest attraction is the lack of the automobile, and long may we keep it this way. And [of course] the casual mixing of cultures and relaxed atmosphere," said Carol Korschen, whose family runs the Peponi, Lamu's best-known hotel.

During the 1960s and '70s, the island earned a reputation as a hippie hideaway for European expats who were living in Kenya or sailing through the Indian Ocean. Today, Lamu retains a small but devoted group of Westerners who have bought homes or continue to make regular trips, including Prince Ernst of Hanover and some Hollywood stars who go there to retreat for months on end.

Related
Yoga Retreats: Escape, Relax and Recharge10 Incredible Treks Off the Beaten Path WATCH: Saving an Island of TreasuresLamu is comprised of an archipelago of seven islands that boast miles-long stretches of unspoiled white-sand beaches, perfect for swimming, sailing and snorkeling. The main island is roughly the size of Manhattan, with a population of 15,000. Expats congregate in the tiny village of Shella, most days on the Peponi's swanky seaside terrace.

Though Kenya has had a tumultuous year, with violence breaking out during spring elections, the melting pot of cultures in now-Muslim Lamu coexist remarkably peacefully. This UNESCO World Heritage Site makes an ideal destination for anyone looking to escape.

A Brief History
Lamu first appeared on the map more than 1,000 years ago as a Swahili settlement island on the trade route from Mombasa to Mozambique. In 1506 the Portuguese invaded, taking over the lucrative trade of slaves, ivory and mangrove.





During the 17th century, Lamu fell to Omani rule, as the empire expanded around the Indian Ocean. Under the Omanis, Islam took hold as the local religion and the slave trade grew. During Lamu's 19th century golden age, wealthy Arab merchants built large private estates on the shore, whose ruins and renovations still stand.

Under the British Empire the slave trade was abolished and Lamu's economy sank. Today, fishing, trading and tourism keep its livelihood afloat.

Infor: abcnews.go.com/Travel/story
 

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美国: Rep KE
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Discussion Starter #17
Lamu Palace Hotel’s | 3 Star



Lamu Palace Hotel - Lamu, Kenya
Located within Lamu Island, a small romantic town of rich Arabic influence, Lamu Palace Hotel is located on the waterfront. Its main advantage other than its scenic view and Lamu-style decor, is its close proximity to downtown Lamu. All of the 22 rooms within the hotel are airconditioned and placed with a rich Lamu feel. The two restaurants at Lamu Palace Hotel, roof top and spacious terrace restaurants, have extensive menus with a wide variety of dishes and seafood-specialitites.

There is an attractive dinning room serving tasty local delicacies. While the culinary emphasis is on seafood including giant prawns, lobster and crab, there is also a tempting selection of assorted meats. The hotel makes its own bread and there are croissants for breakfast in the morning. In the back courtyard, surrounded by trees and plants, is a makuti (wooden) roofed Fisherman's Bar, which offers a snack menu.


A library and lounge next to the dining room area, inside, is filled with antique Arabic furniture with bright, plush cushions, and a welcoming bar. Lamu Palace Hotel’s swimming pool is a 10-minute walk from the hotel and is uniquely located on a rooftop; there is also a spacious bar/lounge offering a fantastic view over the old port and Lamu Channel.
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
Lamu port will put Kenya on maritime pedestal


The proposed port development at Lamu is a big project by any standards. It will include a railway network connecting the Southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Central Africa Republic and possibly Cameroon and Chad, an oil pipeline from Southern Sudan to the port, an international airport and a free trade zone.

While the development of Kenya’s second port at Lamu is of great interest to all Kenyans, there are local concerns and sensitivities, which must be acknowledged, respected and, where necessary, addressed. Ordinarily, a project of such magnitude and expected economic benefits should be received with joy by everyone but this has not been the case. Granted, projects of this size have had hiccups when getting off the ground, but what is happening at Lamu goes for unnecessary controversy and confusion.

At the moment, there are many port projects routinely being implemented worldwide without fuss. It was in 1972 when the first study of Lamu as Kenya’s possible second port was conducted. RENADET-SAUTI, a French firm of consulting engineers, ran the study initiated by then Ministry of Transport and Communications with the late Ronald Ngala as minister. Then, the Government was mainly interested in Lamu as a second port for strategic and security reasons.

Among other things, the survey was on a railway line to Nairobi and identified an alignment through Garissa to Nairobi offering a distance of about 510 kilometres from Lamu which by coincidence is about the same distance by rail from Mombasa to Nairobi. But it was not pursued at the time because it lacked economic justification.


The port of Mombasa handled just a little over two million tonnes and Kenya had a population of about nine million. Last year, the port handled a total traffic of 16 million tonnes growing at an average of 10 per cent every year and population now stands at about 36 million.

After 36 years, a great deal has happened. Global shipping dynamics and trends in international logistics will place the proposed facility in a different context from that of the 1970s. The Eastern African countries have embarked on a standard gauge railway master plan sponsored by Kenya and Uganda as a way of modernising their transport infrastructure.

The proposal is meant to replace a total of 5,000 kilometres of the old colonial metre gauge and to add 6,000 kilometres that will link all the hinterland countries with the waterfront facilities in Kenya and Tanzania. These include Dar-es-Salaam, Tanga and a new port proposed at Bagamoyo, north of Dar-es-Salaam.

Under the proposed Lamu port, In Kenya, a railway network planned from the Kenyan waterfront and its hinterland comprises three main lines. There will be a new 1,290 kilometres standard gauge line from Mombasa to Kampala to be extended to Kigali (Rwanda) and Bujumbura (Burundi).

From Kampala, it is planned a 540 kilometre standard gauge railway line to Juba in Southern Sudan through Gulu and Nimule. The meter gauge line from Nakuru to Kisumu will also be replaced by standard gauge.

A new 1,600 kilometre line will run from Lamu to Juba via Archer’s Post, Isiolo and another 1,380-kilometre stretch from Nairobi through Archer’s Post to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, giving the Kenyan neighbour access to the proposed Lamu port.

The 780-kilometre meter- gauge line from Addis to Djibouti will probably be replaced with standard gauge to provide efficient link to the port which has now been conceded to Dubai Ports World (DPWorld) for modernisation and management. This will provide Ethiopia with world-class efficient port services at Djibouti.

With reports that a major American railway company has expressed interest to build a new standard gauge railway line from Dar-es-Salaam to Isaka and extend to Kigali, possibly giving Rwanda, an emerging economy within the region, two rail outlets to the Indian Ocean, through Tanzania, and the other through Uganda and Kenya.

The proposed standard gauge master plan for Eastern Africa can be used as a basis for an expanded regional network to cover a bigger hinterland for the regional waterfront. This, however, would require political stability and goodwill, which goal will no mean feat looking at the history opf Europe, awhose countries at one time fought for 100 years.

More recently, they fought the First World War and the Second World War.
But East Africa should learn a lesson that today the European countries have merged into a thriving economic community of 25 countries with a population of over 450 million served by 15 major ports on the Atlantic and nine on the Medetriarian, all interconnected by a massive railway network with a well regulated seamless cross-border interoperability.

The Eastern and Central African region being considered here is made up of 11 countries with a population of about 300 million. The proposed regional railway network is approximately 15,000 kilometres.

All this will require the fullest development of port facilities on the East African waterfront which in Kenya will mean Lamu and Mombasa and at least two major ports in Tanzania. It is in this context that the proposed Lamu port and indeed other ports in East Africa should be examined.

Changing circumstances have made the development of Lamu imperative. Coming to the fore is the perennial congestion and physical limitations to future development at the port of Mombasa.

Southern Sudan and Ethiopia require an outlet into Kenya for seaborne trade and Lamu readily offers such an opportunity. All things considered, there is sufficient demand to justify the development of Lamu as a second seaport for Kenya and it is imperative.

Lamu has great potential for development because of its vast deep harbour. Preliminary studies have revealed that Lamu can have a quay length of well over 10 kilometres and at least 18 metres draft alongside.

There is a deep 11-kilometre long channel with an average width of about two kilometres. There is also ample land in Magogoni area for port operations and a Free Trade Zone (FTZ).

The wide channel will be able to accommodate multiple navigation in and out. The new port will be situated in Manda Bay to the west of Pate Island, one of the islands in the Lamu archipelago.

It will be well away from Lamu town which is a Unesco-protected world heritage site. The port will be free from the limitations of Mombasa in terms of navigation and operating draft.

Vibrant landbridge
It will, therefore, be able to accommodate giant container ships in use, those being built, or planned. These are very important strategic considerations for the future development of Lamu port.

The proposed Lamu-Juba-Douala transport corridor has the potential of becoming one of the most vibrant “landbridges” in the world. Its equatorial position places it half way between the Suez Canal and Cape Town while its meridian position places it well between the Western and Eastern hemispheres.

In logistics, a “landbridge” describes a transport corridor through a land mass which connects ocean routes on either side of the land mass, usually by rail, thereby providing a seamless flow of container traffic in a shipping logistics chain.

The transcontinental coast to coast railway lines in the US and Canada have acted as landbridges since the inception of containerisation, while the railway line from St. Petersburg to Vladivostock spanning the former USSR for 8,500 kilometres is the longest of such landbridges.

The shortest landbridge on record is the 317-kilometre Kedem Landbridge between Ashdod in the Gulf of Aqaba, and Eilat on the Mediterranean Sea, which Israel tried to develop by road when the Suez Canal was once closed to Israeli maritime traffic.

Currently Saudi Arabia is reported to be building a railway line from Jeddah to Dammam which may be extended as a landbridge to the Persian Gulf. According to industry reports, the German Railways are currently negotiating with shipping lines serving the east coast of the US to develop a landbridge service from Hamburg to Chinese ports via Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

This landbridge will be approximately 11,500 kilometres thus surpassing the St. Petersburg Vladivostok Landbridge The proposed Lamu-Juba-Douala transport corridor is estimated to be about 4,000 kilometres long, compared to the American and Canadian transcontinental lines which are 5,000-6,000 kilometres long or the St. Petersburg Vladivostok line.

It has also been estimated that the Lamu-Juba-Douala corridor if built as a twin railway line would have a potential total throughput capacity of at least 10 million TEUs per year.

This would require that the two ports of Lamu and Douala have capacities to match this landbridge throughput over and above the normal hinterland and transshipment traffic.

All these considerations support the establishment of Lamu as a hub port of mega proportions. Lamu also occupies an attractive geographical position on the western shore of the Indian Ocean which could be the ideal end of the voyage for the large container vessels coming from Southeast Asia and the Far East.

Economic viability
The idea of a coast to coast railway from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic is not entirely new to Africa. The insipient landbridge from Lobito in Angola to Dar-es-Salaam has been suggested.

This uses the old Benguela railway to the Zambian copper belt linked to the Chinese built Tanzania Zambia Railway (TAZARA) from Kapiri Mposhi to Kidatu where the TAZARA Cape gauge line is connected via transshipment to the Tanzanian meter -gauge onward to the port of Dar-es-Salaam.

The idea of the Lobito-Dar-es-Salaam landbridge seems to have no geographical or economic viability and is, therefore, likely to remain a dormant concept.

The Lamu-Juba-Douala landbridge is an idea whose time has come. It is a powerful concept which could revolutionise world shipping and logistics arrangements. It is an idea which could dramatically change the fortunes of the four landbridge countries, namely Kenya, Southern Sudan, Central African Republic (CAR) and Cameroun.

This is a project that will be of vital interest to the international shipping community as well as the major global port operators. The Indian Ocean is crying for another port on the western shore to compete with and even complement Dubai as a major transshipment hub. Lamu has the logical geographical position and sufficient water and land to answer this challenge.

At this point, there are mega international transport initiatives in progress or being planned. The expansion of the Panama Canal is expected to be completed by 2015. It has been reported that Argentina and Chile are planning a tunnel through the Andes Mountains to connect their two countries.

The legendary Gotthard Tunnel across the Swiss Alps is scheduled for massive expansion at a very ambitious budget. A 28- kilometre bridge has been proposed across the Gulf of Aden to link Yemen with Africa.

The Lamu Juba Douala transport corridor may appear to be a modest effort compared to some of these initiatives. Nevertheless, within the context of Africa it is quite an ambitious and novel project that should be embraced without a second thought.

In terms of development, operation and market position Mombasa and Lamu are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Potentially there is more complementarity between the two ports than competition.

Basically, Lamu port is a facility that will serve Southern Sudan, Ethiopia, Central African Republic, Cameroun and even other parts of Sudan and Chad once peace is restored.

On the other hand, Mombasa will continue to serve Kenya, Uganda and the Great Lakes countries. With a bit of dredging and the development of the Dongo Kundu Complex, Mombasa could readily accommodate container vessels of up to 4,800 TEUs capacity which is the current maximum panamax.

The two ports will thus play a complementary role in making Kenya move towards being a global maritime power.

The Lamu port project is a very unique project. The proposed port combines three very important functions. First it is a port site with a potentially vast hinterland.

Secondly it is a potential mega hub for transshipment traffic. Thirdly it is a potential landbridge port for a very busy international transport corridor. All three considerations make Lamu the most important port site on the western shores of the Indian Ocean and possibly the most important in Africa.

It is also the only natural site where Kenya can establish its second port. In comparison, the fabled Jebel Ali container port consists of dredged dock basins sheltered by artificial breakwaters.

Jabel Ali is really only a transshipment port, albeit with its 100-square kilometres legendary value adding Free Trade Zone. Lamu on the other hand will have a much broader spectrum of port functions.

Own and operate
The dynamics of modern shipping have created shipping lines with global reach and also port and container terminal operators with global reach. Many shipping lines operate in consortia using space in shared vessels.

Likewise consortia have been formed between port operators and shipping lines to develop and operate ports and container terminals on a worldwide scale. Thus, several major shipping lines have formed subsidiaries for owning and/or operating container terminals.

For example, the AP Moller Group which is the parent of the largest container shipping line MAERSK SEALAND has APM Terminals (APMT) as the arm of the group to own and operate container terminals.

China Overseas Shipping Company (COSCO) has Cosco Pacific looking after its container terminal operations. PSA International of Singapore, Hutchison Port Holdings (HPH) of Hongkong, DPWorld of Dubai and International Container Terminal Services Inc (ICTSI) of Philippines all came up from former port and terminal operators.

The Lamu project is a thoroughly bankable project. It is its own collateral which needs no further collateralisation. Here is an opportunity for Kenya to think bold, think big and think smart.

There can therefore be no need to bring in any unrelated aspect into the project’s implementation process. All that is needed is to follow well known standard road map in implementing such projects.

Ideally the project should be funded through a Build Operate and Transfer franchise through a process that would attract one of the best known global port investors with proven financial and managerial capacity.^^

Source:
05.02.09 BD Africa
 
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