Kalambo — BUSINESSPERSONS and residents who carry out businesses and live around Lake Tanganyika may now have something to smile about, after the government announced on Monday that it was about to sign the contract for the construction of a new cargo and passenger ship.
The new ship with the capacity to carry 600 passengers and 200 tonnes of cargo will operate in the eastern side of Lake Tanganyika, supplementing duties carried out by the oldest MV Liemba.
This was revealed on Monday 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 neighbouring Zambia as well as in 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.
MV Liemba still runs to this day and a journey on her is a fascinating adventure. It was built as a German warship in 1913 for the Imperial German Navy and originally used to maintain German control over Lake Tanganyika.
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 neighbouring 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 gargets 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.