Cargo handling at Lake Victoria ports increased to 79,000 tonnes in the first quarter of the current fiscal year, surpassing the target of 77,000 tonnes. This growth can be attributed to increased business activities among East African member states, as stated by Mr Francisco Mwanga, the Lake Victoria Ports’ Operations Officer, during an event welcoming the Kenyan Vessel (MV) Uhuru 1 back into operation after a decade-long hiatus.
The notable improvements in cargo volumes at the port have mainly been in the transport of fuel and other consignments. The annual target is set at 310,000 tonnes of cargo, and the current trend suggests that this goal may be achieved before the fiscal year concludes, according to Mr Mwanga.
The cargo volume has risen from 240,000 tonnes in the 2020/2021 fiscal year to 270,000 tonnes in the 2021/2022 fiscal year. The MV Uhuru 1, a Kenyan vessel, docked at the Mwanza South Port in the Mwanza Region, carrying 22 wagons and 771 tonnes of cement. Lake Victoria Ports Manager, Mr. Erasto Lugenge, mentioned that this ship returned to the port after a 10-year hiatus.
The Tanzania Ports Authority (TPA) is actively pursuing improvements to accommodate more cargo ships, with operations like the Tanzanian MV Umoja and Ugandan MV Kaawa facilitating the transportation of a substantial amount of cargo between the countries.
TPA is also undertaking significant improvement projects at various Lake Victoria ports, with investments amounting to at least 60 billion Tanzanian shillings. These projects are taking place at key locations such as Mwanza South, Mwanza North, Bukoba, and Kemondo ports in the Kagera Region.
Mr. Rono Josephat, the cement importer utilizing the MV Uhuru 1 ship, commended the mutual business cooperation among East African countries, emphasizing that such collaboration would attract more investors to the maritime sector. He also noted the high level of cargo safety, contributing to the favourable business environment.