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Uganda Government to Revamp Water Transport on Lake Victoria

The Uganda Government has pledged to improve water transport to reduce the cost of doing business.

This comes after the completion of repair works on MV Kaawa and the dry dock at Port Bell in Luzira, Kampala.

The ferry was repaired by Southern Engineering Company from Mombasa, Kenya.

"The vessel is only waiting to be tested for performance and seaworthiness," said Charles Kateeba, the Uganda Railways Corporation chief mechanical engineer.

This was during a recent field visit at the Port Bell pier by stakeholders.

"The Government is working with Tanzania to strengthen the corridor further by opening up the Tanga-Musoma line," he added.

Kateeba said after the vessel has been tested and inspected, the Government will hand it over to Rift Valley Railways, which will manage and operate it.

The vessel will, however, first undergo special inspection before it is insured as it prepares for full operation.

He said the vessel will carry wagons, containers as well as general cargo.

The $3.2m (about sh8b) ship and dry dock repair works were funded by the World Bank. The dock enables the engineers to see the underneath of the vessel.

MV Kaawa is the first ferry to be revamped after MV Pamba was grounded for non-conformity to seaworthiness in 2005 and MV Kabalega submerged in the same year.

Tanzania's MV Umoja and other private-owned ferries have over the period bridged the gap, transporting cargo from Tanzania and beyond to Uganda.

The New Vision Newspaper
17 June 2012

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