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Regional ferry starts operations in August

By Vision Reporter

Added 24th July 2011 03:00 AM

MV AMANI, the first passenger ferry that will link Uganda to Kenya and Tanzania starting in August has been unveiled.

MV AMANI, the first passenger ferry that will link Uganda to Kenya and Tanzania starting in August has been unveiled.

By Alex Balimwikungu
MV AMANI, the first passenger ferry that will link Uganda to Kenya and Tanzania starting in August has been unveiled.

The $ 2.5m (about sh6.5b) 30-tonne, 150-seater ferry owned by Earth Wise Ferries Uganda, was unveiled to the press at Port Bell, Luzira recently.
Built in the US and re-assembled at Garuga on the shores of Lake Victoria, the ferry that runs on diesel, was the first of the 10 ferries to be unveiled on the waters over the next five years.

It will operate between Port Bell, Kisumu, Mwanza and Ssese Islands.
Rob Smith, the president of Earth Wise Ventures Inc, a consortium of African and American companies, pointed out that by 2016, the group will have invested over $30m as they look to restore the economic corridors by introducing a robust ferry system serving different ports on Lake Victoria.

“Even as a cheaper alternative, our ultimate vision is to create a vibrant economic life on the waters.
“We will restore safe, fast, reliable, and comfortable water transport on Lake Victoria and in doing so, reduce the current travel time by 60%,” Smith said.

He said there will be no provision of carrying vehicles on the ferry as they are targeting passenger comfort first.
Cargo liners will be introduced in ensuing years.

Tim Lwanga, Kyamuswa legislator in Kalangala district, said it was time for the Government to work out a private-public partnership with the American investors to fulfill President Yoweri Museveni’s campaign promise of giving the islanders three new ships.

Lwanga said with MV Kaawa and MV Pamba grounded at Port Bell, only MV Kalangala, which resumed operations in January after undergoing lengthy repairs, is not enough.

“People travelling by MV Kalangala from Entebbe to Kalangala were spending three hours on the way.

“I am impressed that this new ferry can spend 45 minutes and make as many as five trips a day,” the MP stated.
Lake Victoria was once home to a bustling ferry service that provided economic connectivity between Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

At one time, 30% of the Ugandan economy was centred around and dependant on a sound ferry system.
With an estimated 1,600 people moving from Kampala to Kisumu and Mwanza by road daily, it is believed the ferry will provide easier navigation.

Regional ferry starts operations in August

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