Kalangala Infrastructure Services [KIS] has delivered a second ferry to boost marine transportation services between Bukakata in Masaka and Luuku landing site on Bugala Island.
The MV Ssesse, which awaits commissioning, arrived at Port Bell for inspection last week. John Opiro, the managing director of KIS, said the “delivery of the second ferry is tangible evidence of our ability to deliver on our promises and that the project is reaching the maturity stage thereby increasingly benefiting the islands inhabitants.”
He continued: “The power plant (which KIS operates) is already serving parts of Kalangala town, the road is being worked upon and the water project is already serving a large portion of the island’s residents. We are confident that once all the four project components have been completed, Bugala island will be a very different place with infrastructure and services comparable with those on the mainland.”
With the breakdown of both the MV Kalangala and MV Amani, traders have struggled to beat the challenges associated with the risk of water transport.
However, Okello Bwangamoi, the permanent secretary in the ministry of Works and Transport, said in a statement that the timing was perfect to counter the transportation challenges in the region.
“The timing of the second ferry is perfect given that the people of Bugala have been suffering from a shortage of safe marine transportation services for quite some time. The MV Kalangala was taken for repairs and has not yet returned while the MV Amani has not been operating due to technical issues. We welcome the arrival of this ferry, which will give the island’s economy a much-needed shot in the arm,” he said.
Opiro noted that the ferry services are on high demand based on the growth of travellers to the island.
“We are currently doing 12 crossings per day on Mondays – Fridays and 10 crossings on Saturdays as opposed to the four scheduled trips we were supposed to do with the first ferry, the MV Pearl. Despite this, however, we are still unable to transport all the people and vehicles,” Opiro added.
Recently, KIS provided the first ferry, MV Pearl, to ease transportation between Bukakata and Luuku landing sites. The MV Ssese has the capacity to safely transport 180 passengers and about 20 vehicles, depending on their weight.
The project has been financed through equity and debt finance from Infraco of the UK, UDC of Uganda, IDC of South Africa, USAID, and GurantCo.