31 December 2012

Uganda: Govt Buys Three New Ferries

The Government has procured three ferries intended to ease transportation across three water bodies, bringing to nine the number of ferries under its watch.

The vessels, acquired at sh6b each, were supplied by Damean, a Dutch firm.

The ferries started operations this month. One will start operations in January 2013. Two will ferry passengers and goods across the Nile River and Albert Nile, linking Mbulamuti in Kamuli to Nabuganyi in Kayunga and Obongi (Moyo) and Majii (Adjumani).

The third ferry at Nakasongola is currently being assembled and will start operations across Lake Kyoga soon, said Dan Alinange, the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) publicist.

He said the Government opted for the ferries due to the exorbitant costs of erecting bridges across water bodies.

"We look at ferries as mobile bridges. Right now, we would need sh300b to build a bridge across Lake Kyoga, which we don't have, yet we can acquire a ferry at sh6b to move people over 200kms," he said.

Presently, UNRA operates and maintains six ferries including Laropi, Masindi Port, Wanseko, Nakiwogo and Bukakata.

The massive investments in ferries are a short- to medium term interventions as the government solicits for funds to erect bridges.

"The Government plans to build a bridge linking Kayunga to Kamuli in the future so as to develop native routes a part from going through Jinja," said Alinange.

"This would be an attractive route for the northern corridor and reduce traffic going through Jinja to Kampala."

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