THE Marine Service Company Limited (MSCL) has launched trips to Port Bell Uganda by using its cargo ship ‘MV Umoja’, the ‘Daily News’ has learnt. MV Umoja made its first trip to Port Bell in Uganda on December 23, 2017.
According to the company Acting General Manager, Mr Eric Hamissi MV Umoja carried 1,200 tonnes of cement from Mwanza to Uganda. He said the launching of Mwanza-Port Bell route basically creates a great opportunity for traders in two countries to operate profitable business since water transport was cheaper compared to other means.
He said MV Umoja, which ‘wagon ferry’ designed is capable to carry up to 22 wagons at once. “This is a special ship for carrying cargoes, which are already loaded in wagons, it has a railway-line within, thus when it docks at Port Bell, the train engine pulls the wagons out direct to the next destination,” he said.
However, Mr Hamissi said since the railway line from Port Bell to Kampala is currently out of use, MV Umoja has been forced to carry loose cargo to Uganda. “Last year when President John Magufuli visited Uganda, he agreed with President Yoweri Museven to rehabilitate Port Bell-Kampala railway line, therefore upon the completion of the rehabilitation, we will be able to carry cargoes in wagon as planned since then,” he noted.
Mr Hamissi added that the company, which was recording poor performance in the previous years has started to pick up after implementation of short strategic plan, which involved renovation and reviving of ships, which were not working for some years.
“I joined the company in December, 2016, the first thing I did was to make sure we repair some of ships so that we can start making money, the company had many ships but they were not working,” he said. He added that his intension is to move the company to international level.
“I am sure we can do it, there are many opportunities, the first thing is to make sure we change staff’s mindset, we need to think positively and focus at making profit,” he said.
According to Mr Hamissi, his company is currently striving to win the World Food Programme (WFP) tender to transport maize consignment from Mwanza to Uganda. “They are transporting maize from Tanzania to South Sudan, they have been using trucks because there was no reliable water transport services, as long as MV Umoja is operating, we are looking forward to win the tender,” he said.