Gambia to get 2 new ferries in 16 months

Gambia to get 2 new ferries in 16 months

By Cherno Omar Bobb

The Gambia government through the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) yesterday signed a contract with DAMEN Shipyard for the construction and design of two new green solar powered ferries.  

The signing ceremony held at BCC Town Hall seeks to address issues of ferries in the country.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) provided the grant funding to procure one new green solar powered ferry while the government of The Gambia procured the other through a supply credit arrangement with DAMEN Shipyard.

The ferries are expected to be delivered after 16 months of the signing of the contract.

Hon. Ebrima Sillah, minister of Transport, Works and Infrastructure in his remarks at the ceremony, announced that the long term strategic goal of the government is to bridge the Banjul and Barra route, adding that the feasibility studies has started and they are waiting for the outcome of the study to determine the start of the bridge construction.

He announced that work is almost completed on Kunta Kinteh Ferry and it is expected to resume service by the end of the month.

Hon. Sillah also announced that the alkalo of Barra, Alhagie Baboucarr Faye has offered two of his boats to transport students, critical health workers, security personnel and those with special needs for free in the morning while the government will provide the needed logistics.

He went on to say that after the resumption of service by Kunta Kinteh Ferry, Kanilai Ferry would also be rehabilitated to ensure safety and reliable service.

“In the past couple of months we have given licence to two private service providers to operate their ferries in The Gambia,” he further announced.

According to him, they are open to cooperation with other operators willing to operate within the Banjul and Barra route.

Ousman Jobateh, the managing director for the Gambia Ports Authority, apologised to all Gambians, their customers and users of the ferry services for the disruption in the service along the Barra and Banjul crossing point.

He noted that the lessons learnt are that they would improve in their planning to ensure that there is uninterrupted service along the route.

MD Jobateh announced that after the arrival of the two ferries, they would open up to the private sector for the sustainable management of the ferries to ensure they are guaranteed quality service and value for money.

He hinted that if this plan is implemented, challenges of ferry crossing will be a thing of the past. 

Rohey Malick Lowe, the mayor of Banjul City Council, hailed the government for stepping in addressing the plight of citizens, especially those who cross the Banjul and Barra route.

She observed that women and students are the most affected by the unavailability of ferry services.

Mayor Lowe called for the need for the government to closely work with the local government for the development of the nation.


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