- Kenya Ports Authority managing director Daniel Manduku said the project's feasibility study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is about to be concluded.
- The project also includes construction of a 19-kilometre road and bridge project to open up the South Coast by removing dependence on the Likoni ferry.
Construction of the first berth of the Sh30 billion Dongo Kundu free port and economic zone is set to start, giving employment hopes to hundreds of youths who have lost transportation jobs to the Standard Gauge Railway.
Kenya Ports Authority managing director Daniel Manduku said the project's feasibility study by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is about to be concluded.
“In conjunction with the Trade and Industrialisation ministry, we have identified 3,000 acres owned by KPA where we shall develop a Free Economic Zone.
"Soon we shall launch the construction of the first berth of Dongo Kundu port which will be connected to the second phase of the Sh30 billion Dongo Kundu bypass," he said on the sidelines of the International Association of Maritime Economists conference in Mombasa.
The project will create more than 1,000 direct jobs and at least 2,000 indirectly, he added.
"The project among other initiatives will create thousands of jobs, set up about 1,000 light industries and spur growth in the port city of Mombasa,” Dr Manduku said, adding that he expected the port to handle increased local exports.
“In developing the Special Economic Zones, we shall be encouraging the private sector to set up industries. The targeted area is enough to accommodate about 1,000 of them. Those who have been lamenting that they are losing the port business because most of the goods are destined for Nairobi can now think of investing in the Dongo Kundu Free trade project so that they can also benefit,” he said.
The free trade zones will have conferencing facilities to tap into the hospitality sector, according to KPA’s head of corporate development and strategy Martin Mutuku.