Mwinyi: Ro-Ro project will stimulate economy growth

ZANZIBAR: ZANZIBAR expects to develop a special berth for loading and unloading vehicles in what’s referred to as ‘Ferry and Rolls-on/Rolls-off (Ro-Ro).

In the course, President Hussein Mwinyi on Tuesday witnessed the signing of an agreement for the project, which will be implemented through Public Private Partnership (PPP).

Ahead of the celebrations of the 60th Anniversary of the Zanzibar Revolution, which climaxes on Friday, the treaty was made between the newly formed Zanzibar Ferry Development Company (ZF-DEVCO)-B.V-a consortium of Dutch and Tanzania’s companies and the Zanzibar’s Ministry of Infrastructure, Communication and Transport in the island.

In his remarks, Dr Mwinyi described the project as a landmark in marine transport under the blue economy, adding: “A major reform and development in transport is inevitable, especially to achieve our goals. Improved transportation systems in road, water, and air are required for our social and economic growth.”

The signing ceremony was also witnessed by several executives, Ministers, and The Netherlands Ambassador to Tanzania, Mr Wiebe de Boer saying: “Everybody wants to visit Zanzibar, so make the best use of the opportunity available in the blue economy.”

The Ambassador further said that his country and Zanzibar relations have been growing stronger, where so far already there 15 companies including the KLM partnering in tourism and transport industries.

On his part, Zanzibar Minister for Infrastructure, Communication and Transport, Dr Khalid Salum Mohamed, noted the project will improve services at the current Ferry Terminal, and address passenger congestions and safety risks among others.

Likewise, he said that the current port infrastructure is over 100 years old, adding: “our partnership with ZF-Devco consortium members promises to unlock the wider potential of Zanzibar Maritime transport fulfilling the Blue Economy vision of our President Dr Hussein Ali Mwinyi.”

Commenting,  Zanzibar Port Corporation (ZPC) Director General, Mr Akif Ali Khamis stated that the Zanzibar Ferry development aligns with the government’s plans of unlocking the blue economy, especially it plays a significant role as a gateway to the island bringing in people from all over the world..

He added: “Thus, the government of Zanzibar partners with ZF-DEVCO to enhance the passenger experience by building a new and modern ferry terminal and to cope with the rapidly changing needs.

This is a strategic initiative that not only addresses the need to upgrade the current infrastructure, but also benefit the passengers and the people of Zanzibar.”

Equally, the Director General noted that the significant partnership will be implemented in two phases as an important step towards development of sustainable infrastructure, enhancing marine transportation, and championing environmental protection in Zanzibar.

ZF-DEVCO Consortium Directors, Mr Jaffer Machano, and Mr Matthew VanderBorgh- Principal architect of the project, indicated that the first phase of the ambitious project will require an estimated total investment of USD 250 million.

Subsequent phasing is anticipated to demand additional investments ranging from USD 100 to 150 million and will develop a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), transit hotel, shopping mall, and an Expo Hall for trade exhibitions and large conferences.

The development of the Passenger and Ro-Ro Ferry Terminal aims to upgrade the existing underdeveloped infrastructure, where the project will introduce new terminals and enhance amenities to cater for the increasing number of passengers, while also connecting the island to East Africa and the world.

In a related development, ZF-DEVCO-a consortium partner, Mr VanderBorgh, emphasised the project’s strong commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

He said “the Zanzibar Ferry Terminal development aligns well with the global objectives by addressing crucial sustainability issues, such as advancing sustainable infrastructure, ensuring environmentally friendly transportation, fostering inclusive economic growth, and safeguarding biodiversity.”

Equally,  ZF Devco Directors emphasised that the Concession Agreement  and ZF-DEVCO consortium team will support Zanzibar government’s environmental management efforts starting with preserving a vital mangrove forest spanning 150 hectares, which seamlessly connects to the development site, at Mpigaduri/Maruhubi.

This ecological preservation underscores ZF-DEVCO’s alignment with responsible development practices, demonstrating a harmonious approach to progress while conserving natural resources.

The new ferry terminal’s strategic location is at Mpigaduri/Maruhubi, on Bububu road to the Unguja north of Stone Town and approximately four Kilometres from the current ferry location.

The development site covers around 34 hectares, including 15 hectares of existing land and an additional 19 hectares that will be reclaimed through dredging. The project is expected to take two and half years of construction.

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