Lamu Port and Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET)

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The Lamu Port and South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor (LAPSSET) project is part of a long term plan to stimulate economic growth in the region. In March 2012 the leaders of Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia met at the port of Lamu to launch the project.[1] LAPSSET involves building a deepwater port and oil refinery in Lamu, and the construction of pipelines, roads and railways to South Sudan and Ethiopia.[2] The project is due to be completed by 2030, and the estimated cost is US$23 billion.[3] LAPSSET is a major component of Kenya's Vision 2030 - a project to improve the Kenyan economy and infrastructure over the next 20 years.[4]

One of the long term aims of LAPSSET is to make the port at Lamu three times bigger than the port of Mombasa, with a total of 32 deepwater berths.[5] Construction of the first three berths is already underway, although behind schedule as of November 2013 according to the offical homepage of Kenya Vision 2030, Kenya's national long-term development plan.[6] In addition to this an oil refinery with a capacity of 120 000 barrels per day (bbl/d) is due to be built in Lamu by 2015.[7] However this deadline is unlikely to be met as construction has not yet started as of May 2013.[8] A 2240 kilometer oil pipeline connecting Lamu with South Sudan and Ethiopia is planned, which would enable the two landlocked countries to increase their oil exports.[9]

Another key element of LAPSSET is the construction of a two lane highway designed for heavy transport from Lamu to northern Kenya, where one fork is to continue into South Sudan and the other into Ethiopia.[10] The total distance of the road network would be 1730 kilometers, and the cost is projected to be US$1.4 billion.[11] According to reports the road construction project is on schedule.[12]

The final component of LAPSSET is a 1500 kilometer railway line from Lamu to the north of Kenya, from which it could be extended into South Sudan and Ethiopia.[13] It is estimated that by 2030, the railway could transport 30 trains per day to South Sudan, and 52 to Ethiopia, at speeds of up to 160 km/h.[14] The cost of the railway is estimated at US$7.1 billion.[15]

Experts estimate that LAPSSET could increase Kenya's economic growth rate to 7.5 percent in 2020, with some claiming it would make Kenya a middle income country by 2030.[16] However, disagreements over the routes of the proposed pipelines persist and there are fears that LAPSSET will not be realised.[17] South Sudan has transit agreements with Sudan.[18] Ethiopia remains in the early stages of oil production and there is also a proposal to build a pipeline to Djibouti.[19] Meanwhile South Sudan and Ethiopia both plan to build refineries of their own rather than focusing on exports, all of which could stand in the way of the political will to push for LAPSSET.[20] There are also fears that LAPSSET would fuel conflict between South Sudan and Sudan. LAPSSET would give South Sudan access to the sea without going through Sudan, thereby depriving its northern neighbour of its crucial oil transit revenue.[21]

In November 2013, construction began on a new railway from Mombasa to Nairobi, due to be completed in 2017.[22] The railway will reduce journey times from Mombasa from 15 hours to 4.[23] The long term plan of the largely Chinese funded project is to extend the railway to Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.[24]

References

  1. "Pipeline Poker" The Economist, 25 May 2013.
  2. "Emerging East Africa Energy" U.S. Energy Information Administration, 23 May 2013.
  3. "Kenya poised to roll out ambitious Sh2 trillion transport corridor project" Daily Nation, 22 July 2013.
  4. "Lamu Port and New Transport Corridor Development to Southern Sudan and Ethiopia" Kenya Vision 2030, retrieved 18 October 2013.
  5. "Lamu Port and New Transport Corridor Development to Southern Sudan and Ethiopia" Kenya Vision 2030, retrieved 18 October 2013.
  6. "Lamu Port and New Transport Corridor Development to Southern Sudan and Ethiopia" Kenya Vision 2030, retrieved 18 October 2013.
  7. "Emerging East Africa Energy" U.S. Energy Information Administration, 23 May 2013.
  8. "Emerging East Africa Energy" U.S. Energy Information Administration, 23 May 2013.
  9. "Lamu Port and New Transport Corridor Development to Southern Sudan and Ethiopia" Kenya Vision 2030, retrieved 18 October 2013.
  10. "Lamu Port and New Transport Corridor Development to Southern Sudan and Ethiopia" Kenya Vision 2030, retrieved 18 October 2013.
  11. "Kenya poised to roll out ambitious Sh2 trillion transport corridor project" Daily Nation, 22 July 2013.
  12. "Lamu Port and New Transport Corridor Development to Southern Sudan and Ethiopia" Kenya Vision 2030, retrieved 18 October 2013.
  13. "Lamu Port and New Transport Corridor Development to Southern Sudan and Ethiopia" Kenya Vision 2030, retrieved 18 October 2013.
  14. "Kenya poised to roll out ambitious Sh2 trillion transport corridor project" Daily Nation, 22 July 2013.
  15. "Kenya poised to roll out ambitious Sh2 trillion transport corridor project" Daily Nation, 22 July 2013.
  16. "Kenya poised to roll out ambitious Sh2 trillion transport corridor project" Daily Nation, 22 July 2013.
  17. "Pipeline Poker" The Economist, 25 May 2013.
  18. "Pipeline Poker" The Economist, 25 May 2013.
  19. "Pipeline Poker" The Economist, 25 May 2013.
  20. "Pipeline Poker" The Economist, 25 May 2013.
  21. "The mega-port that threatens to sink Sudan" U.S. Energy Information Administration, 23 May 2013.
  22. "Kenya launches new railway to reach South Sudan and Burundi" BBC, 28 November 2013.
  23. "Kenya launches new railway to reach South Sudan and Burundi" BBC, 28 November 2013.
  24. "Kenya launches new railway to reach South Sudan and Burundi" BBC, 28 November 2013.