Published On 9 Jan, 2018


Thanks to the short term strategy crafted by President John Magufuli’s government they were able to turn around the Marine Shipping Company Limited (MSCL), the company that is state-owned and was almost on the verge of collapsing, has tremendously turned around its business profile within a year.

A year ago, the company was operating on a single and old MV Liemba on Lake Tanganyika, but today, thanks to the turn around the maritime firm operates on a total of four ships, including MT Sangara, an oil tanker that plies on Lake Tanganyika with routes to Kalemi and Uvira in DR Congo and Bujumbura in Burundi.

Speaking in an exclusive interview, Acting General Manager of MSCL, Eric Hamissi, said the company suffered tremendous losses for a long period of time when other ships were grounded.

He also said that when he took over the reins of the firm about a year ago, he was forced to come up with a strategy to revive the sinking company, which was agreed upon by the board members of the company.

Among other things, the strategy was aimed at restoring some sips that were grounded; there was also re-installation of electronic system, procurement of new ship, training of a new workforce, and fuel monitoring system, by young trained professionals.

The head of the MSCL group said in the rehabilitation work of its fleet, Tanzania Ports Authority deserved kudos for providing a facilitation fund with the central government. On the ongoing rehabilitation work of its fleet of ships, Mr Hamissi said repairs of the fifth ship -ML Wimbi, a 120-tonne vessel is expected to resume operations next week, as its rehabilitation was almost complete. “ML Wimbi is a light cargo ship that will ply on Lake Victoria.

“Part of the fund spent on rehabilitating our fleet came from the MSCL revenue sources but the TPA board and the central government played a pivotal role in the firm’s revival plan, It is suitable for ferrying cargo to any destination within and around Lake Victoria. Given the fact that Lake Victoria has a number of islets, this light vessel will be very useful for businesspersons, the government and other entities,” he said.

According to the plans made by the company, repair work on the MV Serengeti was expected to resume next week before it operations starts from Mwanza to Bukoba in March.

Mr Hamissi made it known that by middle of January 2018, a team of technicians would be dispatched to Kyela to start repair work on MV Songea to provide services on Lake Nyasa.

As for the MV Victoria and MV Butiama, they would also undergo major maintenance after another South Korean company- KTMI- won the bid to rehabilitate the ships.

He further described the due diligence of the company, adding that the contract was expected to be officially signed this month with the rehabilitation work expected to start by March.

Mr Hamissi also made mention that a company from Denmark has been appointed to undertake the work. However given the historical links with Germany, the country, through its embassy in Dar es Salaam, had expressed interest to getting involved in the rehabilitation work.

On electronic ticketing, Mr Hamissi said everything was completed and the system would be piloted on MV Clarias that plies along Mwanza- Nansio route. The system was made possible with the help of e-Government Agency (eGA), While On plans to purchase a new ship, the acting general manager said within a year MSCL had secured a contract with a South Korean firm, STX Shipyard, for the supply of a new ship with a capacity of 1,200 passengers and 400 tonnes of cargo.

The contract worth is about $37 million and would be officially signed soon, as it has undergone procedures, including that of due diligence. When all is set and done it would be assembled in the country and operate on Lake Victoria.

According to Mr Hamissi, the vessel that started operating at the end of November, 2017 had already generated over $40,000 (900mn/-) by last December. He said MV Umoja that now plies from Mwanza through various ports in Lake Victoria to Port Bell in Uganda was a strategic train ferry.

The cargo ship started operations last December and brought great relief to the traders and ordinary people in the Lake Zone, particularly those ferrying goods through Kemondo Port in Kagera Region.

Currently, he explained further that the vessel carries loose cargo but it would later carry train cargo up to Port Bell, thereby improving the performance of Tanzania Ports Authority.

To buttress the issue at hand, he said the marine company would install Floscan Fuel Monitoring System to monitor fuel consumption in its ships. When both systems become operational they would reduce theft of revenue by 95 per cent.

As for business perspective MSCL has a brighter future, especially when it comes to the operations of some strategically located ships, this includes the MT Sangara which is now making profits for the company.

As of late the oil tanker is now busy after attracting the attention of oil dealers in Uvira, Kalemi in DR Congo and Bunjumbura in Burundi.


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