Monday, 29 July 2013

Coming Soon: Mombasa- Kigali Express

The Kigali express will complement and 
compete with Kenya-Uganda Railway
THE GOVERNMENTS of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda have agreed to construct a 2937KM Standard Gauge Railway line from Mombasa Port Kenya, Via Kampala- Uganda to Kigali in Rwanda. The project will cost an estimated US$13.5 billion broken under; Railway line construction $11.5 billion and rolling stock US$2 billion.

And to underline the seriousness with which the project is viewed, the three governments have agreed to fund the project jointly. Already Kenya Railways Corporation has floated a tender for the design construction and supervision of the Railway line.

Also the Kenya government, reports last week had it, is already in talks with China seeking funding for the project. Uganda and Rwanda are also said to be warming up to China for the financing of the same project.

This development has observers cautioning that the West risks being locked out the gravy train. They say that China funds only projects awarded to Chinese contractors. This, observers say, means that no non-Chinese company can win any such tenders.

However, there’s plenty for contractors in east Africa. There’s the US$23 billion Lapsset and a host of other projects that are seeking for contractors.  They only need to keep their hear to the ground.Read

The Mombasa Port-Kampala-Kigali Railway line ,christened  Mokaki, comes at an opportune time as the Port of Mombasa, the largest Port in east Africa, is also being expanded to meet the growing demand. The Port which handled 21 Million tons of freight last year, plans to raise its capacity to 40 million tons a year from 2015. Read

 Freight to and from Uganda and Rwanda stood at 23 million tons last year and grows at three percent a year.  A part from imports, growing trade between Kenya and her two neighbours  will also benefit from  the construction of the high-speed Railway line.

Already Kenya has allowed both Uganda and Rwanda to set up customs offices at the Port of Mombasa to clear and collect their taxes from there. This will eliminate the need for customs checks at the borders thus raising the speed of delivery of freight from Mombasa to their destinations. Uganda and Rwanda among others depend on the Mombasa port for its trade with the external world. 

Inefficiencies at the Port, resulting in long delays has increased the costs of imports in both Rwanda and Uganda. The construction of the High-speed Mokaki Railway line will significantly lower the cost of imports. The line can also be extended to South Sudan via Eldoret, Kenya.

 The construction of the Mombasa Port Kampala-Kigali Railway line, say observers, will spell the death or significantly derail the proposed Dar-Es-Salaam Kigali Railway link. This line was to link the port of Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania to Kigali in Rwanda. The success of the Mombasa-Kigali link will effectively render redundant, the Dar-es-salaam-Kigali Railway link.

 The Mombasa link, which is in the northern Corridor coupled with the Lapsset Corridor, will make Kenya the transport hub of the region. Construction of the Lamu Port has begun. Read

Monday, 22 July 2013

Blast the Chinese invasion in Africa

One Moment a home....
Next a heap of rubble
DAMN THE CHINESE INVASION in Africa. They have disrupted our lives.They are so obsessed with excavating! They and their ugly excavators compete with moles in their obsession to build webs of roads that destroy the environment. 

Like moles, they are no respecters of persons and their property even convenience.  Forests, homes, estates, animal reserves And fancy roads like ours have come down due to the Chinese’ excavation frenzy. People, cars, animals and drunkards are in tears because the Chinese have invaded and disrupted their lives.

I am one of those who have suffered loss due to Chinese. I live in a neighborhood where moles-sorry Chinese -are busy at work destroying the environment I am used to. They have dug up two roads that my contraption that passes for a car is familiar with. They have created a series of turns and twists that demand my complete sobriety to drive on these roads – sorry cattle tracks that are similar to roads.

Now my contraption was familiar with the old roads that the Chinese have excavated.  I could therefore drive home safely while drunk.  I could even doze off behind the wheel and the car would still find its way home safely.

 Now, that is history.  The Chinese have excavated 12 feet deep trenches and then beside the trenches, they have created diversions-tracks that are similar to roads- and directed motorists there. This means that it will be suicidal for drivers to doze off on the wheel in that stretch of our former roads. It is lethal to drive on these diversions if you are 20 per cent sober!
The reward: Fancy Roads

What’s more these diversions change every day. So we are constantly on a new environment. This means that we have to go home with the Chickens to avoid driving into a new trench.  Given their depth, the trenches will take a pretty long time to refill, hence our dear “roads” will be unusable for a long time-centuries maybe. Daily imbibers will therefore have to learn to be awake on these roads, or they will have to quit drinking- if they love their miserable lives.

 For Men to go home early is not a good thing for population control, for Kenya is known for its explosive population growth. One way of controlling population growth is by drinking ourselves silly and then sleep our heads off when we get home.  Alternatively you just sleep anywhere on the way home and wake up when slightly sober and go home.  The campaign to control population growth is in jeopardy.  Men will go home early and sober. They will thus take notice of the women around them and turn to them for fun. Bedroom acrobatics are famous for creating babies.

 “Beer widows” are cheering the arrival of the Chinese moles who force the men to divorce their dear bottle.  Bar owners are mourning for they face extinction. 

I and my ilk are not the only victims of the Chinese digging appetite. Thieves have been forced to change their location and/or undergo re-specialization. The trenching of the roads has meant that they are no longer passable hence no motorists pass there. For the thieves, the prey is gone.

 Some thieves have become workers on the construction site. The farsighted ones have shifted to other friendlier areas for they know that their trade on this road is permanently threatened. .

 Urban farmers too, are threatened, as their “farms” have been grabbed by the roads projects: They either pile more soil on their crops destroying them or, the roads have cut through the small plots making them unviable for business. The farmers have also lost in terms of the sewer water they were using to “irrigate” their farms. Constant diversion of the sewerage due to bursts and uprooting means the water goes to waste before getting to their plots.

Other victims include land grabbers- whether housing developers, urban poor, or the informal sector- all have been asked to vacate to give way to the Chinese.  Posh homes and shacks have been demolished with no hope of compensation. At least the drunkards will be compensated when their roads are restored to their former glory somewhere in the future. Land grabbers will not be compensated.

Even forest and national parks are threatened. The Nairobi national park, the only park in the city in the world,   is expected to lose some 80 acres to the Chinese built mania.

 At the end of it all, we are told, the Chinese will build a web of confusing roads which will allegedly increase our speed of travelling to work, reduce traffic snarl-ups, reduce pollution by engine emissions and cut down our oil import bill.  Dig that! The Chinese construction will reduce consumption of oil at a time when Kenya has just discovered oil!  Damn confusion this one, damn confusion. Even the roads are confusing. I hear that some fellow called Confucius was born in China. Was he?

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Kenya Port's Post-Panamax project ahead of schedule

An Aerial view of the Mombasa port
THE CONSTRUCTION OF the second container terminal at the Port of Mombasa in Kenya  is three months ahead of schedule, we can report. This is the second project in the on-going upgrading of the Port into a Mega port to be completed ahead of the schedule in less than a year.

A mega port is a full service port that has the capacity to handle post-Panamax vessels. These are vessels that can carry more than 10,000 TEUs and are up to 350 metres long.

Last year, the deepening of the port and the widening of the Likoni channel and the turning basin was completed four months ahead of schedule.

According to the Managing Director of the Kenya Ports Authority, by the end of May this year, construction of the second container terminal, which began last December, was 38 per cent complete. At that point, he said, it was three months ahead of schedule meaning that Phase of one of the project could be complete by the end of 2015. Initially, the project was expected to come on stream in March 2016.
A post-Panamax marine Vessel

The completion of this phase will increase the Port’s containers handling capacity by 1.25 Million TEUs raising the total container handling capacity to 1.7 million TEUs. Currently the container terminal has a capacity of 450,000 TEUs.

Robust economic growth both in Kenya and among her landlocked neighbours such as Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan generated increased demand for imports and exports through the port.
This growth coupled with the rapid expansion of vessel sizes has stretched the capacity of the port, which is the hub of shipping business in east and central Africa, to a snapping point.

 For instance the container terminal was built in 1980 to handle just 250,000 TEUs a year. Last year, it handled a total of 903,463 TEUs. That is four-times beyond its capacity. This resulted in unwarranted delays in cargo discharge and the associated costs. Being the gateway to east Africa, congestion at the port increased the cost of doing business in the region.

The second source of pressure for the port was advance in construction of freighters. In order to minimize average costs, shipping Lines were investing in large capacity vessels. In 1996, says an analysis by the Kenya Ports Authority which is in charge of all ports in Kenya, the largest vessel had a capacity of 4000 TEUs. This grew progressively to 11,000 TEUs in 2011 and is projected to rise to 20,000 TEUs by 2020.

This growth in vessels size also added pressure on major ports in Africa to invest in capacity expansion. The Mombasa Port was no exception. It has undergone several upgrades in the recent past the most recent of which was the dredging of the channels to -15 Metres.

The most recent expansion the upgrade of berth No 19 has added another 200,000 TEU’s to the existing capacity. The new capacity has raised the container handling capacity to 450 TEUs from this year on. It is on this capacity that the second container terminal will add 1.25 million TEUs, bringing the total capacity to 1.7 million TEUs.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Kenya Railways Corp seeking for investors to build mini-cities

A prototype of Nairobi Railway city
THE KENYA RAILWAYS Corporation, a public utility, is shopping  for investors to develop mini-cities on its idle land.The project to be build on 320 acres of land spread across three cities in the country will cost US$$3.0 billion. 

The mini cities will change the skyline in some of the cities, increase business activity, including tourism and light manufacturing in additon to turning the host cities into transport hubs. The corporation is thus targetting the kind of developers that are bidding for leases in Konza techno City.

To be developed jointly with investors on a long-term lease, the projects will be developed in Mombasa, Nairobi and Kisumu. The developments will  include; ultra- modern Railway stations, direct rail links with the international airport in the host city, commercial buildings, an industrial park, shopping arcades and resorts, malls and restaurants among other facilities. 

A prototype of Mombasa  Railway city
The project is designed to complement the facilities in the cities. In Nairobi for instance, the corporation hopes to put up a US$1.4 billion mini-city on 200 acres of land on which it will build an ultra- modern railway station, direct rail links with the JKI airport, two five-star hotels with a capacity of  accommodating 1,500 persons each, commercial buildings, an industrial park, shopping arcades, resorts, malls and restaurants among other facilities. Nairobi is expected to grow into a transport hub in the region.

The development in Mombasa will cost US$0.95 billion and will comprise of a variety of Commercial buildings; an international exhibition Centre, business park for light manufacturing; three Hotels with conference facilities for 1000 people a piece; a  Shopping arcade, malls and restaurants and an entertainment park; 

A prototype of KisumU city 
 In Kisumu, the project will cost US$806 million and will open up Kisumu city to the world. Apart from the usual railway services, the city will enhance Kisumu’s status as the transport and commercial hub of the great lakes region. 

 The development will include a variety of commercial buildings; Business park for Light manufacturing/assembly; two Hotels with conference facilities for 1000 people each, a shopping arcade, malls and restaurants; a BPO park; an  entertainment park; ultra-Modern railway station

Thursday, 4 July 2013

More Oil finds in Kenya, production in sight says IMF

An oil Rig: More finds, quantity upgrades
production in sight in Kenya
KENYA COULD  start producing oil by 2019/20-"In 6-7 years’ time" says the IMF in document published in April this year.

The document, IMF staff report on Kenya, confirms that, the report of the oil find and its commerciality are real. It says that since the find in May 2012, some 23 oil prospecting companies have come to Kenya for prospecting licenses.

This report comes hot on the heels of a report that Kenya’s Rift Valley could be sitting on 10 billion barrels of crude oil. The Business channel, Bloomberg reported in April that Kenya’s oil stocks in the Rift Valley could top 10 billion barrel-enough to last Kenya 300 years.

Meanwhile, Tullow oil has announced another find in South of Lokichar Basin, also in the Rift valley. It also revised upwards the production estimates in the earlier two finds to 5000 barrels a day a piece from the earlier 2850 barrels a day.

The latest testing data from the Twiga South-1 and the Ngamia-1, says the company, indicate that the potential has risen to 5,000 barrels of oil per day per well. The firm also said that the total reserve in both wells is estimated at 250 million barrels but could rise further since tests are still going on.

 Drilling of the Lokichar Basin began in May this year. The news that oil could be found in less than two months of drilling are exciting Nairobi. The firm is now testing the commercial viability of the new find..

Commercial viability means that the Oil quality and quantity in a well can be sold at market rates plus there are enough stocks to run for a few years. The increasing numbers of quantity estimates are looking a like a game changer for Kenya.

According official sources, in the year to November 2012, Kenya spend a staggering US$2.105 billion importing 21.7 million barrels of crude oil. Although the commercially viable output is still a drop in the ocean, the prospect of cutting this this bill significantly is exciting to Kenyans.

A local business publication reported last November that oil and Gas exploration brought in US$1.2 billion in FDI. This figure is expected to rise as more players are expected to bid for a piece of the action. 19 exploration blocks are said on the table for auctioning this year.

The flow tests show that the well can produce up to 5000 barrels per day, way above the 2850 barrels per day initially estimated.

Lamu Port: Gearing to be energy
Port city of  East Africa
Meanwhile Uganda has decided to build an oil pipeline from its wells in Lake Albert in Western Uganda to a Kenya port. D.R. Congo is also said to be considering going east to export their oil through Kenya. This makes the Lapsset Corridor in Kenya, which was a mouth- watering prospect just a few months ago, a staggering one.

Two weeks ago, we reported that south Sudan has awarded the construction of the 200KM long pipeline from Juba to Lamu, to Toyota Tsusho, the investment arm of Toyota Motor Corporation. And last week, Uganda confirmed that it will build a Pipeline from its wells in Lake Albert to Juba then on to Lamu in Kenya. The implementation of Lapsset is now US$3.50 billion down; there is US$19.5

billion to go.

Even then, there is plenty of activity on Kenya’s second transport and economic corridor over the next 20 years or so. Already, the government has set aside some US$500 million for the construction of the first three- berths at the Port of Lamu.

The three are; a general cargo berth, a bulk cargo berth and a container berth. These three will be used to transport material for the development of the corridor.