The Malawi Shipping Company (MSC), which is building a new ship worth $8.5 million, says it intends to revolutionise the country’s water transport sector.
MSC, a subsidiary of the Portuguese industrial conglomerate Mota-Engil, is a concessionaire that is running the water transport sector in Malawi
The ship being assembled is set to sail on the water of Lake Malawi between May and June this year, according to company officials.
MSC general manager Carlos Mendes said the new ship will be faster than Illala which in recent times has been riddled with problems.
“There are 45 people who are working on the new ship and we hope that by June it will set to sail on Lake Malawi.
“This ship will be faster than Illala because it will be doing 37.5 kilometres per hour while Illala does half that speed,” he said.
Mendez said building of the new ship is one of the key requirements of the concession agreement signed between the Malawi Government and the MSC in 2010.
He said the company is assembling the ship to supplement the operations of MV Illala and the MV Chambo.
Mendez touted the new ship for high speed, being modern and suited for the transportation of passenger and cargo, designed to ensure excellent performance, easy to maintain and is fitted with new high standard commercial components.
MSC consultant adviser Austin Msowoya said 70 percent of the job has been done because the hull is now complete and the experts are working on main deck and the wheel house.
“This ship will have the highest safety standards and even in windy conditions, it will perform beyond passengers’ expectations,” he said.
Msowoya said the company has for the past three years rehabilitated most of the cargo vessels and the MV Illala, a 400-tone passenger vessel with a capacity of 450 passengers.
The new vessel to be operated by six crew members will have a capacity of 120 passengers and will be able to carry 20 tonnes of cargo.
The vessel is 33 metres long with a beam of seven metres and depth of 3.3 metres and a draught of two meters.
MSC is also operating the vessel ‘Chambo’ which primarily serves the eastern, Mozambican shore of Lake Malawi, but also includes legs between Likoma Island and Nkhata Bay.
This is a lightweight boat but still capable of carrying up to 80 passengers and up to 10 tonnes of cargo including vehicles which can board using the mount at the front of the vehicle.