Multinational Mota-Engil Group subsidiary, Malawi Shipping Company (MSC), has said its state-of-the-art $8.5 million (K3.6 billion) MV Chilembwe will sail on Lake Malawi by June this year.
Speaking when business journalists toured the Malawi-built vessel at the company’s shipyard in Monkey Bay on Wednesday, MSC general manager Carlos Mendes said MV Chilembwe will complement MV Ilala which currently plies on the lake.
“The new vessel is modern and with a speed twice that of Ilala. It has a speed of up to 20 knots which is approximately 38km per hour. It is built to modern high standards in that it is designed to be stable and can sail comfortably even in troubled waters. It has an efficient layout which is coupled with an excellent performance,” said Mendes.
According to MSC, the new ship will accommodate 120 passengers with a capacity of 20 tonnes of cargo and has a lifespan of more than 100 years.
Explaining the performance of MSC and the Malawi shipping industry, MSC consultant Austin Msowoya said over the past three years, the company has been able to rehabilitate most of the cargo vessels and the MV Ilala.
“Having rehabilitated the vessels, we have seen an increase in cargo and passengers. We have seen the coal industry, bottled drinks, cement and sugar using our vessels and there is potential to generate more cargo. We have plans to source large cargo vessels to supplement the current ones,” said Msowoya.
He added that apart from bringing in new vessels and rehabilitating the old one, the company will also invest in training staff to run the new ships.
In 2010, government granted MSC a 35- year shipping services concession in order to attract more investment into the sector.
The new vessel is one of the key requirements of the concession agreement. MSC will also build a five -star hotel which will have an international golf course to prop up tourism.
A review of the concession in 2013 found MSC satisfying most of its aspects.