The government of Tanzania is set to sign a contract for the construction of a new cargo and passenger ship. The new ship is expected to have the capacity to carry 600 passengers and 200 tonnes of cargo and will operate in the eastern side of Lake Tanganyika, supplementing duties carried out by the oldest MV Liemba.
This was revealed by the Deputy Minister for Transport and Communication, Engineer Atashasta Nditiye, shortly after visiting and inspecting the Kasanga Port along the shoreline of Lake Tanganyika in Kalambo District, Rukwa Region.
According to the Deputy Minister, the new vessel will operate from Kigoma via Katavi and Rukwa in Tanzania to Mpulungu Township in the neighboring Zambia as well as in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Burundi with numerous stops in between.
The Deputy Minister said the contract for building of the ship will be signed between the government and contractor from Korea in March this year, including the major expansion of the Kasanga Port. He said that water transport is vital in the economic growth of any nation; that building a new ship will greatly improve and address marine challenges on Lake Tanganyika.
Engineer Nditiye observed that the oldest freight and passenger ship MV Liemba is still cruising Lake Tanganyika for more than a century, but due to its age it has failed to meet the fast growing demands on marine transport.
Major port expansion
On his welcoming remarks, Kasanga Port Manager, Eng Seleman Kazendo said the building of the new freight and passengers ship will go hand in hand with the major expansion of the Port and upon completion, it will have the capacity to serve 18 small centres along the shoreline of Lake Tanganyika as well as transporting cargo to the neighboring Burundi and Congo DR.
The Meteorological Agency Manager (TMA) for Rukwa Region, Mr Abubakar Sanya told the Deputy Minister that the agency has installed modern meteorological gadgets on Lake Tanganyika for weather forecasting.
The Kalambo District Commissioner (DC), Ms Julieth Binyura, said the building of a new ship will improve water transportation and address challenges afflicting villages along the shorelines of Lake Tanganyika, which cannot be smoothly reached by roads.