Prospects for the realisation of the Sh20 billion Shimoni port in Kwale County are high after the feasibility study was handed over to the Treasury in readiness for tendering.
The Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) says it is waiting for an approval from the Treasury to proceed with tendering. KPA managing director Daniel Manduku said in an interview on Tuesday that all the relevant documents concerning the port have been forwarded to the Treasury for approval before tendering.
“The feasibility study for Shimoni is ready. We are going to look for a public private partnership (PPP) after the Treasury approves,” said Dr Manduku. The study was completed late last year and the latest development has elicited hope among stakeholders in the shipping industry who have said that its construction will create more opportunities for cargo efficiency.
Speaking in an interview in Mombasa, Intergovernmental Standing Committee on Shipping (ISCOS) secretary General Kassim Mpaata said construction of the port is welcome as it will ease congestion at Mombasa port and quicken cargo clearance.
“We welcome any initiative that will make clearing of goods less costly and also efficient. We expect that with the coming in of both Shimoni and Lamu ports prospects are high that we will have less cargo congestion at Mombasa port and the inland container depots, said Mr Mpaata.
Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mombasa chapter chair Rukia Rashid also welcomed the development. “It will open up the area and Shimoni town will grow. It will also create jobs for the youth,” she said. Her sentiments were echoed by Car Importers Association of Kenya (CIAK) chairman Peter Otieno.
“We anticipate that once the port is completed it will assist in enhancing cargo clearance at Mombasa port,” he said.
The proposed Shimoni port, along the Kenya/Tanzania border, is among KPA’s major expansion programmes.
The port, whose feasibility study was done by Maritime & Transport Business Solutions from the Netherlands, is among 11 small facilities countrywide that KPA wants to develop in a multi-billion shilling programme.
But it has not been all rosy as Shimoni residents wanted to be involvement in the project.
In November last year the Kwale county assembly passed a resolution to stop the national government from undertaking construction of the port until local leaders are involved.
The motion, tabled by Ramisi MCA Raia Mkungu, claimed the assembly had been sidelined on projects initiated by the national government.
He said that most projects undertaken by the national government had not been approved by the county assembly contrary to the Constitution.
However, Kwale Governor Salim Mvurya lauded the project, assuring residents that it would benefit them.
In an earlier interview Dr Manduku said Shimoni would be a fishing port to tap the blue economy and the vibrant fishing sector in the South Coast.
“We will build a multi-purpose berth that will incorporate fishing and handle other cargo. We will also set up cold storage and value addition including fish processing plants,” Dr Manduku said.
He said the project was meant to make the parastatal more competitive by expanding its physical property to improve trade. Apart from Shimoni port, Dr Manduku said KPA was also undertaking building of the Sh40 billion Kipevu Oil Terminal.
The tender was awarded to China Communication Construction Company.
“We will soon embark on the construction of the oil terminal for the discharge of fuel to tanks owned by Kenya Pipeline Corporation and other oil companies,” he said.