Nairobi — A 2,000 tones capacity Marine Vessel, Pamba Wagon Ferry owned by Mango Tree Group commenced the transportation of goods from the Kisumu Port to the East Africa region on Monday.
The Group’s General Manager Franck Menard says they will be transporting goods from Kisumu Port weekly to Uganda and Tanzania.
“We are off to Mwanza, in Tanzania, once we offload we head again to Jinja in Uganda with goods,” he said.
Menard says it takes one day to travel from Kisumu Port to any destination within the ports in EAC, noting that their services are efficient.
On the launch day, they loaded ceramic products, estimated to be 1,600 tones from Keda International, a manufacturing industry located in Miwani, Kisumu County.
Menard says they are transporting any product ranging from cement, tiles, maize, steel, plus perishable goods stored in coolers.
He says the lake transport has a potential that has not been fully harnessed, noting that they will be forced to add more fleet of vessels if the market opens up.
“Our vessel carries a lot of luggage, which can take many trailers to transport while taking three to four days to deliver,” he said.
Speaking to the press at the Kisumu Port, Menard says there is a need to shift more cargo from roads to rail and water.
He announced that they are in talks with the Kenya Railways Corporation (KRC) to be able to receive cargo that is coming from Mombasa Port via rail en-route to Uganda and Tanzania.
“We will deliver such cargo to Mwanza in Tanzania, or Port Bell and Jinja in Uganda,” he said. “The route is operational and we will negotiate for more business to relieve the road transport”.
Menard says if need be then they will hire more vessels or build more to increase the capacity.
“Lake Victoria is offering a lot of opportunities in the future. We have made a market study that in the next 20 years the lake transport market is going to be interesting,” he said.
He says they have leased MV Pamba for a period of 15 years from the Government of Uganda and spent a colossal amount of money to rehabilitate it.
The vessel, which was grounded and was being run by the Ugandan Railways Corporation (URC) is 91 meters long and is propelled by two main engines that run concurrently.