Social and Environmental safeguard well in place in the implementation of Lamu Port

Introduction to the LAPSSET Corridor Projects

The Lamu Port South- Sudan, Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor Program is a regional multi modal infrastructure program integrating roads, railway and pipeline components in Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia. The program is the single largest project of its nature in Eastern Africa and is intended to provide seamless connectivity, enhance trade and logistics within the region by providing an alternative and strategic corridor to serve the landlocked neighbouring countries of Ethiopia and South Sudan.

The scope of the truck infrastructure includes: –

  1. A 32 Berth Port in Lamu intended to unlock logistics and trade and create regional transport hub;
  2. Interregional Standard Gauge Railway lines from Lamu to Isiolo, Isiolo to Nakodok and Juba (South Sudan), Isiolo to Moyale and to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), and Nairobi to Isiolo;
  3. Interregional Highways from Lamu to Isiolo, Isiolo to Nakodok and Juba (South Sudan), Isiolo to Moyale and to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia);
  4. Crude Oil Pipeline from Juba (South Sudan) – Nakodok – Lokichar – Isiolo – Lamu; and
  5. Product Oil Pipeline from Lamu – Isiolo- to Moyale (Kenya) and Moyale to Addis Ababa (Ethiopia).

Apart from the trunk infrastructure, it is designed to encompass other investment and economic activities such as International Airports, Resort cities, Special Economic Zones, Industrial parks, and mineral exploration to generate and harness the economic and business activities for the corridor to bolster the viability of the investment and overall program sustainability.  LAPSSET will become Kenya’s second strategic and largest transport corridor once the project has been completed.

Lam Port Status

construction of the 1st three berths of LAPSSET Corridor, Lamu Port is well underway currently at 40% completion and is expected to be complete in July 2018. Construction works entail dredging of the sea bed up to 18M deep, reclamation of land that will form the container terminal and 3 berths, piling, decking and construction of the 1.5 KM causeway. These developments come against the backdrop of completed supportive infrastructure such as the modern LAPSSET building, police station, Lamu power sub- station & power supply, steel pipe manufacturing plant and water reticulation system.

Early operationalization plans to see the LAPSSET Corridor in operation by 2018 have led to the launch of construction of the Lamu-Witu-Garsen road by H.E President Uhuru Kenyatta. This will join the already completed Isiolo-Moyale (505km) road, connecting Kenya to Ethiopia.

Environmental Safeguards

The LAPSSET Corridor Development Authority received an approval licence from the Kenya Forest Service and an Environmental impact assessment license by the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) in 2014 after having successfully demonstrated measures to be taken up to preserve the biodiverse ecosystem of Lamu as well as its rich cultural heritage.  Furthermore, given the multiple interconnected LAPSSET Corridor mega projects, LCDA conducted a Strategic Environmental Assessment to ensure incorporation of social and environmental considerations in polies, plans and programs with a long- term view of environmental impacts on the social-economic landscape.

Social-environmental considerations that have been factored in include;-

  • Protection of marginalized groups and communities to be affected by the LAPSSET Corridor Projects
  • Preservation of culture, heritage sites etc.
  • Zoning of protected areas such as water catchment areas, forest reserves, animal migratory routes etc.
  • Stakeholder participation
  • Adequate compensation measures to project affected persons (PAP)

Compensation of PAP

As required by law under the Land Acquisition Act, compulsory acquisition and subsequent compensation of land owners within the port area was done in 2015 paving the way for the commencement of construction of Lamu Port.

However due to the large construction activities taking place in the sea (dredging and land reclamation works), the livelihood of the fishers is likely to be affected due to disruption of fishing activates. Adequate mitigation measures have been factored in during construction of the Lamu Port such as;-

  • Carrying out oceanographic assessments to commit heavy construction works to when the sea is calm in order to reduce sedimentation
  • Setting up silk curtains around the construction area to prevent massive spread of sediments during construction which are likely to destroy coral life and affect fishing.
  • Detailed Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) to ensure adequate compensation

On 28th February 2017, a joint board meeting between LCDA and KPA directed for the establishment of a taskforce on fishers’ compensation to look into details adequate compensation measures to fishers affected by the construction of Lamu Port and Amu Coal Power Plant Project.

A taskforce was formed comprising of Lamu County Officials, LCDA and KPA Officials and held a meeting with Beach Management Units (BMUs) on 14th July,2017 where the following compensation methods were outlined; –

  • Provision of deep sea fishing gear
  • Provision of fish storage facilities to prevent post-harvest loss
  • Establishment of fish ports and a fish industrial park
  • Fish holding terminal facilities


  1. Giving money to individuals is limiting because it does not provide a framework for sustainability and benefit to a greater number of fishermen over time.
  2. The fishermen will be compensated through purchase of fishing gears and fishing boats which will be provided to their registered fishing cooperatives which is the institutional framework for ensuring equity and prosperity in the process. This framework will enable both current and future fishermen to benefit from the compensation scheme.
  3. The fishing gears and boats to be provided will enable Lamu Fishermen to undertake deep sea fishing where there is more fish resources.
  4. The equipment will enable Lamu fishermen to grow in capacity and income in a sustainable way. It will also enable Lamu fishermen to compete favorably with other present and future large-scale fishermen.
  5. A fish processing industrial park will be built in Lamu Special economic zone to strengthen and stabilize the market demand for fish with a view to improving income levels for Lamu fishermen.
  6. Consideration will be made to provide funds to the fishing cooperatives in order to make available resources for the establishment of a credit scheme for fishermen in Lamu. The credit facility will further strengthen the capacity of Lamu fishermen to expand their business for prosperity and in a sustainable manner.