ADB to fund new ferry at Banjul-Barra Crossing Point
By Sulayman Waan
The African Development Bank (ADB) through the expansion of its port project will provide funding for a new ferry to ply the Banjul-Barra Crossing Point; general manager of the Gambia Ferry Services (GFS), Lamin Jawara has confirmed.
It could be recalled that recently ADB announced funding for the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) ports project. It stated that part of that project “is the expansion of the container terminal for uploading ships, replacement of a non-functioning ferry plying the Banjul and Barra crossing, and widening port access roads by 3km to ease congestion.”
Thus, speaking to Mamos media exclusively on Friday, Mr. Jawara said The Gambia government has confirmed that ADB will provide funding for the purchase of a new ferry for Banjul-Barra Crossing Point under the GPA ports expansion project.
“The government has confirmed the funding and ferries has also being informed through GPA that the funding is now available. We could use that fund to purchase a new ferry.”
“As we speak, the GFS has already started a tender process for the purchase of a new ferry. This is an open tender process and we have already acquired the necessary approval from the Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA) for the purchase of the ferry,” he stated.
The GFS has advertised the purchase of a new ferry in various local newspapers.
Consequently, Mr. Jawara confirmed that his office is currently receiving bids from business people.
“The next level would be an evaluation of the tenders and award of the contract,” he added.
GM Jawara said GFS will do the procurement process, tender process, and sign of contracts in the first half of 2023 and later carry out the construction of the ferry. He added that the ferry is expected to come into service in late 2024.
The chartered engineer said the commissioning of a new ferry at the Banjul-Barra Crossing Point would significantly enhance the smooth transportation of goods and services and boost trade in the country.
“Having a new ferry at this crossing point will avail us the opportunity to use the newer ferry to provide more reliable services to satisfy our customers,” he said.
“A ferry comes with lot of possibilities because many businesses rely on the ferry services for their growth. Having reliable ferry services will help many business people increase their operation time while on the other hand helps them to expand their businesses.”
He said the much-anticipated ferry would further enable truck drivers to cross smoothly – something he believes would further boost businesses.
The Kanilai and Johey ferries have often experienced maintenance services which are very expensive and time consuming.
Nevertheless, Jawara said a new ferry will enable GFS to reduce the maintenance cost of older ferries.
Meanwhile, he said ferries have registered numerous improvements over the past years, citing the hourly ferry departure, ferry APP and ferry premium services among others.
Those services, he said, have enhanced customer satisfaction at the crossing points.
“The ferries management is working daily to improve the services. And then we will continue to improve. “We will continue to innovate and we will continue to ensure ferries’ services are sustainable,” he said. He thus called on the government and commuters to support ferries to attain its goals.