ZANZIBAR President Dr Hussein Mwinyi on Monday ordered Zanzibar Ports Corporation (ZPC) to allocate additional area as a temporary measure to ease passenger congestion at Malindi port’s passenger terminal.
Dr Mwinyi reiterated the government resolves to improve key infrastructure for marine transport, citing the construction of Maruhubi Ferry Terminal as the lasting solution to passenger congestion at Malindi.
“The government understands that the strength of marine transport services is subject to the quality of port services…the limited space at our Malindi port is an impediment to service improvement,” Dr Mwinyi said here at the launch of Azam Marine Company’s newly procured passenger speed boat–Kilimanjaro VIII.
He said the envisaged new terminal project will be implemented under the public private partnership arrangement. “…and after relocating cargo services to Mangapwani, Malindi port will be reconstructed to accord Stone Town and its environs a touristic status .”
President Mwinyi further ordered Zanzibar Maritime Authority (ZMA) to collaborate with the Surface and Marine Transport Regulatory Authority (SUMATRA) to enhance service efficiency and ensure safety of passengers and their properties.
He warned wananchi against the use of unofficial marine vessels, which are both risky and against the laws. “Let us all refrain from using vessels that disregard marine transport safety guidelines,” he said.
The president commended Azam group for the huge investment in Zanzibar, saying: “With over 250 million US dollars (about 600bn/-), you are indeed one of the big investors in Zanzibar; we are proud of you.”
He asked the company to consider introducing Unguja-Pemba route to serve Pemba residents whom he said encounter serious transport problems.
Minister of State, President’s Office, Labour, Economy and Investments Mudrik Ramadhan Soraga declared Azam Group a strategic investor that qualifies for all incentives under the Zanzibar investment laws. He directed Zanzibar Investment Promotion Agency (ZIPA) to officially communicate the status to the company.
Azam Marine Company Executive Director Abubakar Aziz Salim said the firm, which started business in 1992 has so far invested 120 million US dollars (over 280bn/-) in the procurement of passenger and cargo vessels, having paid 130bn/- to the government as taxes and fees since 2010.
The new purchased Australian built boat has the capacity of 631 passengers in three classes–economy, VIP and Royal with 559, 56 and 16 passengers, respectively, said the company’s chief executive officer.
Azam Marine ferries over 2 million passengers annually, with 180,000 foreigners, said Mr Salim, decrying high operational costs as the major challenge that haunts the industry.