The Kenyan Government has invited bids to design and build three berths along with associated infrastructure at the $5.3bn Lamu port at Manda Bay, Kenya.
The contracts are part of the 32-berth port to be built under the $23bn Lamu Port-Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor Project (Lappset).
Upon completion, the three berths will be capable of handling 30,000dwt of general cargo and 100,000dwt of bulk cargo.
Lappset also includes construction of 1,600km of modern railways, 1,700km of new highways, three international airports and oil refineries.
Lamu's 32-berth port, which will link to Ethiopia and South Sudan by a super-highway, a railway and a pipeline, is expected to be five times larger than Kenya's only other Indian Ocean port in Mombasa.
According to the Kenya Ports Authority (KPA), the implementing agency for the Lamu port project, interested firms can form consortia or joint ventures to allow them to meet the requirements of the expression of interest (EOI), which is open to local and international firms.
In April 2012, Kenya, South Sudan and Ethiopia started construction on the Lamu port project, which is expected to act as the main gateway to Africa's Great Lakes region, including the Horn of Africa, eastern Africa and central Africa.
Initial investment for the Lapsset project will be provided by the three governments and is scheduled to be completed within four years.
The three berths at Manda Bay will be capable of accommodating large vessels, which will help the import of building materials for the other project components.
The port is expected to increase trade between Kenya, Ethiopia and South Sudan, and it will be well-positioned to handle crude and refined oil and oil products from South Sudan.
China is believed to have a major stake in the project, which is funded by regional financial institutions, governments and international lenders.