More Water Vessels on Lake Victoria to Make Transportation of Cargo in the EAC cheaper

Tuesday 1st October 2013
President Yoweri Museveni visited a shipyard owned by VEKA group yesterday. VEKA Group is a family owned enterprise run by the third generation of the Versluis family. The group boasts of worldwide collaboration with two main offices in Europe; Hamburg Germany and the Netherlands. The Bulsma shipyard located in North Holland delivers 10 -15 vessels per annum. Some of the vessels the group builds are passenger vessels including ferries and cruise vessels, inland vessels that include salvage operations and heavy transportation, offshore support pontoons and workboats and luxury yachts. The group is involved in a joint venture with a Ugandan local partner to construct a shipyard in Jinja on the shores of Lake victoria.
 
The President encouraged the group and said they were at the right place at the right time. "20% of Uganda is under water. There are other lakes like Lake Albert that have petroleum and Gas, Lake Edward, and there is the River Nile whose source is Lake Victoria that goes all the way to Egypt, 4000 miles away. In fact during the British colonial time, there was a water transport system up to Alexandria in the Mediterranean sea. With peace in the Sudan, we will have a system all the way through the Sudan," the President said
 
Responding to a question by Mr. P.M Versluis Junior regarding dams on the River Nile, President Museveni explained that the dams would be bypassed by a rail system. It is estimated that more vessels on Lake Victoria would reduce the cost of transportation of Cargo to EUR 2000 down from EUR 5000 per container.
 
The shipyard to be constructed will train Ugandan personnel and employ them. President Museveni told the group that in order to ensure a complete circle of maritime industry, he had directed that a training school be constructed. "I have already directed that a marine training school to educate our people in water operations be constructed. For your case, Cargo is growing in East Africa. Uganda is a big coffee producer with 4 million bags per year. Soon we will be producing 10 million bags and we will overtake Colombia. Uganda is the second biggest producer of Bananas in the world. We are using a bad system of road transport that makes it expensive and is also bad for the roads. By combining water and railway sytem, we will bring down the cost of transportation of Cargo by 40%," the President said.
 
VEKA group will in the first quarter of 2014 begin operations and plans to deliver a multipurpose vessel highly suitable for Lake Victoria in the first quarter of 2015. The vessel will be equipped with Rororam for un(loading) on various locations with reach stacker and forklifts. It will be able to carry 12 trucks with trail, 60 cars or tractors and 90*20 containers and bulk cargo. The estimated value of the vessel is EUR 7,150,000 and the company's total investment in the shipyard, EUR 4,700,000.
 
The President who was hosted in the morning by the King of the Netherlands held evening meetings with the Netherlands Agro, Food & Technology Centre (NAFTC) and CRV a diary processing company whose slogan is Better Cows, Better Life. The Director NAFTC told the President that he had become very interested in Uganda following the President's speech at the 68th UN assembly on MDGs.
 
President Museveni was at the end of the meetings hosted by the Executive Board of RaboBank for a working dinner attended by H E the Ambassador of Netherlands to Uganda and Uganda's Ambassador Mirjam Blaak. Others at the dinner included Mr. Bernhard Van Meeteren a Senior Investment Officer in FMO Entrepreneurial Bank, Managers of Alfasan group of Companies manufacturers of Verinary Medicines.

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