GPA Signs Contract for Two New Ferries

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By Sariba Manneh

The Managing Director of the Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) has disclosed that two new ferries are anticipated to be delivered within sixteen months following a recent contract signing for their acquisition.

The vessels, according to The GPA Officials, will serve the Banjul and Barra crossing points to enhance capacity.

Ousman Jobarteh, the Managing Director of the GPA made this remark on Wednesday, April 17, 2024, during a signing ceremony for two new ferries purchased by the central government of the Gambia, and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB). Mr Jobarteh said the decision came about because of their engagement with the Africa Development Bank (ADB), after they were provided with funding to procure a new solar powered ferry.

“When the decision was sent to Government, cabinet gave instructions and the Ministry of Transport informed the GPA that Government’s decision is to go in for two new ferries instead of one,” he said; adding that each of these two ferries costs 11,850,000 Euros, equivalent to D859,836,802.84.

Jobarteh added that the two new ferries will be delivered within sixteen months from the date of the contract signing and will be deployed along the Banjul and Barra crossing points to provide additional services.

“Things like toilet facilities, positioning and other features will be improved in these two new ferries, and they will not only run on diesel power, but on clean energy to sustain the environment,” MD Jobarteh said.

However, he apologized to commuters for the unavailability of ferries, as neither ‘Kunta Kinteh’ nor ‘Kanilai’ ferries are functioning at the moment.

Jobarteh said one of the ferries is a complete grant from ADB, but the second one is procured by the government through a supply credit arrangement with the Shipyard of Netherlands.

Jobarteh further confirmed that GPA will invite private sector participation in the sustainable management and operations of the ferries, noting that efforts are already underway to conclude such private partnership.

“GPA will invite private sector participation for the sustainable management and operations of the ferries, once the major capital investment in the fleet is achieved. The involvement of the private sector will introduce new management systems that will enhance reliability in schedules, revenue collection, segregated traffic and improved customer service, and will also invest in a second lander for operational safety,” he said.

He said efforts are underway to conclude a private partnership to invest in the rehabilitation and upgrading of the Banjul Shipyard to ensure that adequate facilities are available for the sustainable maintenance of the ferries.