South Korean firm GAS Entec has contracted Spanish engineering and technology group Sener to design a 1,200-passenger ferry to ply Lake Victoria under the Tanzanian state-run shipping line, Marine Services Company.
When completed, the 90-metre $38.5 million vessel is expected to link ports in Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. With a capacity to carry 400 tonnes of cargo and 20 cars, it will be the largest vessel plying the Great Lakes.
The parts for the ship are to be built in Korea and transported to Mwanza, where the ferry will be assembled.
Sener says the ferry will be equipped with an aft cargo hold to allow the passage of vehicles and storage of cargo, with one aft ramp door for vehicles and another smaller ramp door on the starboard side for palletised cargo.
MSCL chief executive Eric Hamissi said they hope to complete building the ferry by the time the standard gauge railway services between Mwanza and Dar es Salaam begin.
He also disclosed MSCL plans to introduce oil tanker and container carrier services on Lake Tanganyika "to address an ever-increasing demand for such vessels in that lake plying the Burundi, DRC and Zambia routes."
"Before 2025, we have plans for an extended spectrum of operations that will include introducing cargo ship services for ocean routes, particularly to the Comoros Islands. We are closer to those islands than Mombasa and Durban," Mr Hamissi added.
Last September, the Marine Services Company, signed separate contracts with three South Korean firms to revamp shipping services on Lake Victoria under a Tsh152 billion ($66 million) project co-funded by the Tanzanian government.
Under the deal, GAS Entec will team up with the Tanzania People's Defence Forces National Service economic wing, Suma JKT, to build the ferry and commission it within two years.
The other contracts involve the rehabilitation of two old boats -- MV Victoria and MV Butiama -- at a combined cost of Tsh27.5 billion ($12 million), and construction of a 100-metre slipway at Tsh35.9 billion ($15.6 million).
The former will be undertaken by KTMI and Yuko's Enterprises (EA) Co Ltd, while the slipway will be done by Korean firms STX Engine Co and Saekyung Construction Company.
Work on the two old ships involves replacing the engines.