THE days of glory are about to be reinstated in Kagera Region and its environs as the Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) is finalising renovation of infrastructures at Kemondo Bay and Bukoba ports.
Kemondo Bay’s name stands out from the rest in Kagera Region as the 47-heactre port hosts infrastructures that support the use of wagon ferries, meaning that cargo can be transported from Dar es Salaam by railway up to Mwanza where the wagons can be transferred into the wagon ferries before being shipped to Bukoba.
The authority is currently reviving and expanding its ports in Lake zone with Mwanza South, Mwanza North, Musoma and Kemondo Bay ports given special emphasis as they all have infrastructures that support the use of wagon ferries.
This means that contain erised cargo arriving through Dar e Salaam Port and destined for Uganda, eastern DR Congo, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi can easily be transported by railway to Mwanza before transferring the wagons to wagon ferries up to Kemondo or Musoma ports.
From Mwanza, the wagon ferries with containerised cargo can also ply up to Uganda’s Port Bell or Kisumu in Kenya.
This will save Tanzania’s highways from destruction by trucks that transport massive cargo overland.
Mwanza Port Manager Morris Mchindiuza says TPA has struck a deal with Simba Cement Company to start transporting cement cargo from Tanga to Mwanza by railway before ferrying the cement containers to Bukoba by wagon ferries.
“ Those with fresh memories will remember how vibrant Kagera was back in the days when Kemondo Bay was operating with MV Victoria and the ill-fated Mv Bukoba plying in Lake Victoria. We want to recapture that lost glory,” Mr Mchindiuza said.
The renovation of Kemondo Bay Port goes simultaneously with the improvement of Bukoba Port’s infrastructure. Bukoba terminal, which was constructed in 1945, is meant to handle both passenger and loose cargo ships.
Like other ports built before independence, after independence Bukoba Port was initially managed by East African Railways and Harbours until 1977 when the first East African Community (EAC) collapsed.
Tanzania Railways Corporation (TRC) took over the administration of the port before it was placed under the management of Marine Services Company Limited (MSCL) in 1997.
MSCL ran the terminal until 2004 when TPA was given the legal mandate to manage all ports by an Act of Parliament.
According to Mr Mchindiuza, Kagera Sugar Company uses the terminal to transport its cargo to Mwanza and other places in the Lake zone and beyond.
He said given the wearing out of the infrastructures of the Port, TPA made the decision to rehabilitate them by renovating the passengers’ lounge and an administration block at the cost of 565million/-.
The rehabilitation of the cargo shed is also underway.
Bukoba Port is the lifeline of Bukoba residents as they have been using the terminal to ferry agricultural crops and other goods to various places in the Lake zone, including Mwanza and beyond.
MV Victoria, one of the big vessels owned by MSCL and currently under rehabilitation, is due to resume operations next March.