Malawi Govt. to revamp water transport

By Noel Mkwaila

Malawi’s Department of Marine Services in the Ministry of Transport and Public Works has revealed plans to improve the operations of water transport networks which have lost value amid continued demand for their services.

Director for the Department Captain John Mhango says in an interview the government and stakeholders are geared to restore the once vibrant transport system by among other things strategizing on improving jetties.

Additionally, the director notes the importance of also improving on the systems accompanying businesses such as ensuring good hospitality services both on the mainland and on the islands in order to build the travelling public’s confidence.

Mhango observes that the state of lodges along the water transport system is very poor and has contributed to the decline of traveling patronage since people are not comfortable to travel to places without resting places.

 “We also want to ensure that the boats that ply their trade on our water bodies are of high standards,” says Captain Mhango who added that the Covid-19 pandemic has also worsened the situation.

“Currently, water transport is facing a lot of challenges including Covid-19. The people who used to travel between the Islands and the mainland to buy goods for business no longer do so while the traffic of tourism in the country has also declined,” he says.

But Captain Mhango says once the department’s plans are operationalized water transport will claim back its glory from the now robust road transport services.

Cargo movement by water is much cheaper than it is by road.

In March 2019, the Malawi government launched a Likoma Jetty construction exercise at the Mbuzi Hill side on Likoma Island with full hope that it would elevate economic activities and liberate transport logistics.

Recently, the Deputy Minister of Transport and Public Works Nancy Chaola Mdooko revealed government plans to rehabilitate water and rail transport infrastructure.

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