Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) is now ready to commence plans to construct the Shimoni Fish Port in Kwale County after the government announced that it has made incredible developments for the project.
The Sh1.6billion projects will be a pioneer fishing harbour in the country and is expected to have a positive impact on trade and economic growth in the coastal region.
The project once completed will offer a breakthrough in the exploitation of the blue economy sector.
The proposed industrial fishing port infrastructure will include a multipurpose berth that will incorporate fish and conventional cargo handling and cold storage facilities besides a fish processing plant.
According to the Permanent Secretary [PS] for Water, Sanitation and Irrigation, Joseph Irungu, the government will offer support to the authority to ensure the project commences on due time.
Irungu urged different State agencies involved in the project to cooperate with KPA to make it successful.
“This project is one of the best in the country and will offer amazing opportunities in the region and the government will deliver its promise to its citizens. Each agency has a role to play in this project and I want to see each agency performing its duties,” said Irungu.
Irungu noted the project will exploit the blue economy which has the capacity of transforming the economy of the country.
The PS added, “the serious problem of unemployment experienced in the coastal region and the country at large will be addressed by the facility”.
KPA General Manager for Infrastructure Development Eng. Vincent Sidai said the construction works of the project would commence soon.
Eng. Sidai disclosed that at least 16 firms have expressed interest in the construction of the project at the tendering stage.
Eng. Sidai said the construction committee is finalizing the tender evaluation exercise and successful applicants shall be notified in February.
“All mandatory requirements including but not limited to feasibility studies and environmental impact assessment have been met in readiness for the project which is estimated to be completed in two years,” he said.
At the same time, Eng. Sidai informed the National Development Technical Committee that KPA has plans to construct a modern fish market to serve the needs of local fishermen.
Eng. Sidai said the existing Shimoni jetty would be rehabilitated by KPA to continue serving the local community and support tourism activities.
The KPA official said the new facility would enable large-scale exploitation of the fishing industry, bolstered by a ready market and value addition, which will spur the creation of a special economic zone.
He said KPA would ensure that the new port will provide a comfortable, convenient and clean environment for the fishing communities.
By Chari Suche and Raymond Zaka