First ships dock at Kenya's new port

The first ships docked at Kenya's new deep water port on Thursday (May 20).

The East African nation is looking to open up a new transport corridor linking its vast northern region and neighbors to the sea.

The Lamu Port, being built by China Communications Construction Company, will cost $3 billion to complete over several years.

It will compete with ports in Djibouti and Sudan and Kenya's main port: Mombasa.

At a commissioning ceremony, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta described it as "making a dream a reality".

"We are officially operationalizing berth number one and this means that we can start receiving ships and cargo at this port. And by July, berth number two will be ready and by October of this year, the last berth, which is berth number three shall also be operational."

However, there are security concerns.

The port is close to Somalia. From there al Shabaab militants make frequent incursions - targeting the lonely roads that cut across the jungles surrounding Lamu.

Kenyan officials hope Lamu will attract cargo destined for its landlocked neighbors Ethiopia and South Sudan.

It is building several roads towards those borders and eventually plans a rail network and crude oil pipeline.