On Saturday, 23 July 2011, two new ferries were inaugurated by President Yahya Jammeh, at a ceremony held at the Gambia Ports Authority in Banjul. The two new ferries, according to official sources, will be called ALJAMDU and KANSALA respectively.
In his opening remark, Mr. Hali Gai, the Director of Ferries Operations, said the two ferries are a project of the Gambia government and Galla Holding. The government, he said, is aware of the inconvenience caused by the ferries and saw the need to improve the ferry services.
He noted the importance of the operation of the ferries and said they are "very vital because it contributes a lot in the socio economic development of the country." He described the ferries as being of quality as they have air conditioners, restaurants, TV sets, toilets and other facilities.
Mr Gai said Gambians will not experience ferry problems now and that there is already a task force set up to take care of the ferries. He assured proper and regular maintenance and also appealed to the users to contribute their quota by taking good care of the ferries.
For his part, a representative from Galla Holding, Mr. Pre Acos, expressed his happiness to be associated with the inauguration of the two ferries. He said problems that are being experienced with the ferries in Gambia were what had prompted his company to work with the Gambia Government to provide the ferries. He expressed gratitude to the president, the Social Security and GPA for making this possible. He said the ferries will make crossing easier now, adding that the ferry management is concern with safety, customer care and reliance. He concluded by advising the Ports management that every beginning is difficult.
The President, who was present at the gathering, did not himself deliver his statement. It was read on his behalf by the Vice President, Madam Isatou Njie Saidy. In his statement, the President said he was aware of the problems surrounding the ferry services in the Gambia.
"My government brought JOHE and KANILAI here and the addition of ALJAMDU and KANSALA will ease the transport between Banjul and Barra. I know very well that this Banjul - Barra crossing point is vital", he said.
He said these ferries are the most modern in the market and that it will take only 15 munites to cross to Barra from Banjul and that ALJAMDU can carry 78 vehicles and up to 1500 passengers.
The President said the commissioning of these new ferries will go a along way in addressing problems of traveling, adding that it will add value to the inter trade which, he said, is a vital component of any nation.
"It costs my government 6million 345 thousand Euros to purchase the two new ferries", said President Jammeh.