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MPUNGU for East Africa Marine Transport launched on Lake Victoria

Following a construction period of 21 months, MPUNGU for East Africa Marine Transport (EAMT) was launched on Lake Victoria from the purpose-built Entebbe shipbuilding facility of SECO Marine (U) Ltd. MPUNGU, which will become Lake Victoria’s first scheduled ro-ro freight vessel, will now undergo a period of trials before commencing service in April 2024.

Commissioned by InfraCo Africa, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG), and regional logistics company, Grindrod Limited (Grindrod), the 96m long vessel has the capacity to handle up to 1,000 tonnes of containerized cargo, the equivalent of 21 trailers. EAMT also benefitted from a European Union-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund (EU-AITF) grant for market and technical studies as well as for legal and regulatory support.

The ceremony took place in the presence of officials from the Ministry of Works and Transport and representatives from InfraCo Africa, SECO, Grindrod, OSK Design, Alpha Group and EAMT and members of the construction team who had gathered in Entebbe to mark the occasion of floating the vessel.

Mr. Nis Hammer from OSK Design said, “At OSK Design we are pleased to continue our cooperation with InfraCo Africa on this remarkable new project. Contributing to the East Africa regional development has for more than three decades been an integrated part of our culture. Newbuilding’s of this scale improve transport efficiency by shifting a significant traffic volume to the maritime corridor.”

Grindrod will operate the EAMT vessel, offering freight carriers access to a safe, scheduled freight service between Uganda and Tanzania. The EAMT vessel will cross the lake in an anticipated time of 18 hours, compared with the current journey around the lake by congested regional roads which can take between three and four days.

As well as preventing spoilage of fresh produce, reduced journey times are expected to boost trade, supporting SDG 9.4.

MPUNGU has been classified by Bureau Veritas, been built to the highest international standards and will operate in compliance with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) standards for safety of life at sea (SOLAS) and security of shipping and the prevention of pollution by ships (MARPOL).

 © Shippax

Feb 22 2024

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