President Museveni has commissioned the MV Sigulu which is expected to boost water transport on Eastern Uganda.
MV Sigulu is Uganda’s largest passenger ferry.
The water vessel retains a space for 300 passengers over 18 motor vehicles.
This ferry connects to Sigulu and Lolwe islands from Namayingo mainland.
Museveni said the ferry will boost transport of persons and goods in the area.
Government recently completed Musita-Lumino/Busia-Majanji road.
“This road provides a connection to Namayingo town which connects to Watega landing site where the MV Sigulu awaits to deliver you to the islands,” said Museveni.
Government has since embarked on developing its water transport to facilitate trade and development.
The current average transport cost per kilometre stands at USD 2 in Uganda.
This is twice as high as that of comparative middle-income economies.
Experts say the development of efficient water transport and related logistics services is the catalyst required to strengthen the autonomy and independence of the Ugandan economy.
An improvement of inland waterways is expected to have a very significant impact on the other transport modes, especially railways and roads, by pulling cargo and passenger traffic to new logistics supply chains. This will allow for sustainable utilization of existing transport capacities.
Uganda’s natural comparative advantage for water transport is evident, as over 30% of the territory is covered by water. This provides navigable channels through rivers and lakes.
The main categories of cargo transported by water is 70% agricultural (food and live animals), 20% Ugandan manufactured products and the rest at 10%.
Most of the users of water transport are in the informal sector, using small motorized and non-motorized boats, to transport goods and services between the islands and across international borders.
As such, development focused on local passenger transport to nearby islands and shorelines, small scale local cargo transport, pedestrian cars and small trucks is seen as a step forward in the right direction.
The additional advantage of water transport development is that it will not only catalyse the informal fishing industry but also commercial fish farming.
Government is also planning to roll out ferries on Bukungu—Kagwara—Kaberamaido route and Kiyindi—Buvuma.
Two more ferries will serve Lake Bunyonyi Project including rescue boats to support the vulnerable people on the Lake.