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Kenya Ferry to erect Sh4bn cableway at Likoni crossing

Commuters aboard the MV Kilindini prepare to disembark. Photo/FILE
Commuters aboard the MV Kilindini prepare to disembark. Motorists will pay higher toll charges at the Likoni channel in Mombasa after the Transport ministry approved new tariffs. Photo/FILE  Nation Media Group

Kenya Ferry Service plans to put up an express cable car service at Mombasa’s busy Likoni crossing, KFS Managing Director Musa Hassan Musa has said.

The plan is to erect a 1,300-metre-long cableway link Mombasa island and the mainland, that will have up to 28 cabins making a crossing every three minutes carrying about 40 people, allowing KFS to move 11,000 commuters per hour across the channel.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting in Mombasa last week, Mr Musa said the privately-funded project will help in reducing logjams at the ferry crossing and boost tourism in the South Coast by providing a complementary pedestrian crossing.

“Tourists to and from the South Coast will no longer be delayed,” said Mr Musa. “The infrastructure is also a tourist attraction in itself and offers panoramic views of Mombasa from 100 metres (above the ground).”

Construction begins in September 2015 with the setting up of towers, stations and network cables along the route and is scheduled to end by December 2016.

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The public-private-partnership (PPP) project will be supervised by Trapos Limited, who proposed the idea to the Transport ministry in 2013 and saw it approved by the PPP committee as required by law. Trapos Ltd have contracted Doppelmayr — a Swiss/Austrian specialist company that manufactures urban transport systems — as a technology supplier; and CFC Stanbic Bank to arrange for project funding.

The cable car project was initially estimated to cost Sh7.4 billion (EUR70 million). KFS gave the cost of the construction as $41 million (Sh3.8 billion), excluding the cost of a feasibility study completed earlier.

Trapos is expected to conclude a 30-year-concession agreement between Likoni Cable Express, the vehicle through which it will run the concession, and KFS.

“When the project is commissioned, travel time between the island and the mainland, which takes about ten minutes (via ferry), will take less than three minutes, a massive improvement for commuters,” he said.

“By late 2016, we should see the first cable cars running concurrently with ferries, making for a coordinated transport infrastructure.”

He added the project will anchor a Mombasa Aerial Cable master-plan and could see up to 11km of cableways, erected at a cost of $350 million (Sh32 billion), provide transport to various parts of the island.

“The assets will revert back to Kenya Ferry Services at the conclusion of the concession period,” said Mr Musa.

Established in 1989, KFS plays a pivotal role in linking the island to the mainland south of Mombasa. Unlike the northern side of Mombasa, which is linked by bridges at Nyali, Mtwapa, Kilifi and Sabaki, the south depends solely on ferry crossings at Likoni and Mtongwe.

Users will pay about Sh20 to make the cable crossing. KFS currently ferries over 300,000 pedestrians daily across the Likoni channel at no charge, as well as more than 6,000 vehicles.

Updated May 5 to correct minor errors and add further details about the public private partnership.

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