Why Kemondo bay Port crucial in EA maritime transport

KEMONDO is a famous ward in Bukoba District of Kagera Region and it hosts a port that will soon attain international status due to modernisations that are to be implemented by the Tanzania Harbours Authority (TPA).

TPA was established by the Ports Act No. 17 of 2004 as landlord port authority. It operates a system of ports serving the Tanzania hinterland and the landlocked countries of Malawi, Zambia, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Burundi, Rwanda and Uganda.

TPA currently performs the role of both a landlord and operator with the main functions of promoting the use, development and management of ports and their hinterlands, entering into contracts for the purpose of delegating the powers of the Authority (through licensing and concessioning ports services).

Envisionaged in the government’s drive is an increase in cargo transport business and hence intra-East African Community (EAC) member countries.

TPA administers a diverse system of Tanzania’s Mainland sea and inland water ways (Lake Ports). With several ports in Lake Victoria attracting huge business, TPA is on a mission to make Kemondo Bay Port attain international status after major improvements that started on March 15th this year.

The improvements will enable big ships, including the biggest vessel in East Africa – MV Mwanza Hapa Kazi Tu- to dock at the port. The largest ship in East Africa that is 92-metre long has a capacity to carry a total of 1,200 passengers, 400 tonnes of cargo, 20 small cars and three heavy goods vehicles.

Lake Victoria Ports Manager, Mr Ferdinand Nyathi says that countries that are ready to use the port include Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda.

He says the countries’ interest with the port was contributed by several issues, one of them being the use of railway line as a link from or to the marine transport that will be well in place.

Mr Nyathi says infrastructure of the port that is strategically positioned will be improved at a cost of about 20bn/- by a contractor – China Railway and Major Bridge Engineering Group.

He is thankful to the government under the leadership of President Samia Suluhu Hassan, for her unwavering move to have efficient ports and the Ministry of Works and Transport for implementation and constant guidance.

He notes that dilapidated infrastructure will be renovated or removed to pave the way for a new and modern Kemondo Port that will serve more ships, traders and cargo. TPA is set to ensure value for money in the project and revenue will go up once international transactions increase.

Kemondo Port Officer, Mr Titus Majura says the port that was initially constructed from 1971 to 1974 serves many people, including those from small islands of Goziba, Karebe, Makiba, Gumbile and Ginagi.

He notes that a ship christened MV Victoria transports items such as agricultural goods like banana, avocado and cassava to Mwanza and brings finished goods from Mwanza Port.

He says the port that has an area of 118 acres also serves fishing, passenger and cargo boats. He is upbeat as he envisioned more clients at his port once the improvements are completed, calling on traders to be ready to fully exploit the business opportunity.

The improvements come as President Samia nears two years since she entered the highest office of the land.

Stakeholders hailed TPA for services offered at Kemondo Bay Port, saying the improvements will make their business easy and get expected returns.

Ms Dorice Alphoce, at Kemondo Bay Port, says they had challenges in infrastructure to Kemondo but was thankful that TPA replied on time.

Ms Blandina Balthazar, an avocado business woman for many years, hails TPA for its reliable services, saying TPA has been their lifeline.

Mr Sadi Kamugisha, who is an entrepreneur, says they are doing well but asked for government’s support on cooling systems.

He says that by getting in place the cooling system, they will be assured of having perishable goods arrive in the designated markets in good state.

Such goods include flowers, vegetables and fruits that are being cultivated in several inland island of the Lake Victoria and transported out of the country.

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