Among the three ships, two will be in charge of transporting cargo while the other will be ferrying both passengers and cargo.
Kyela Port Master, Percival Salama, said that construction of the ships was currently underway at Itungi Port and was expected to be completed in October, this year. He said the cargo ships will be ready in February 2017.
Implemented by M/s Songoro Marine Transport Ltd, the construction of the ships - according to Salama - is a major step in improvement of transport in the lake as it would ease business and daily economic activities.
“When completed, the passengers’ ship will have a capacity to carry at least 200 people and 200 tonnes of cargo, along with cars,” he said.
The port boss also added that the cargo ships, whose construction has reached 80 per cent, would be carrying up to 1,000 tonnes of cargo each.
Alongside the ships project, TPA has completed the construction of a parking gate at Kiwira Port with capacity to accommodate two ships at the same time as well as a Port Master’s Office.
“In a bid to improve port services at Lake Nyasa, the authority has also completed the renovation of five ferries to transport people at the area,” he said.
He said that the project would not only benefit the people of Kyela economically, but also neighbouring countries like Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique as well as regions of Mbeya, Njombe and Ruvuma.
“The project will also increase government revenues because a big number of customers have already shown interests to utilise the facilities,” Salama said, adding that the completion of the project would also create employment opportunities.
The completion of the project will also act as a good catalyst for the opening of Mtwara Development Corridor, which will enable Mtwara and Mbamba Bay ports to serve the Malawi market, thus reducing the competitiveness of Mozambique port over the Dar es Salaam port.
“This would also make the Port of Mtwara busy at all times of the year, unlike now where it gets busy during the cashew nuts harvest season,” he explained.
In Lake Nyasa, TPA is regulating a total of 15 ports, which are Itungi, Kiwira and Matema in Kyela district, Mbeya.
Others are Ndumbi, Lundu, Mkili, Njambe, Liuli and Mbamba Bay in Nyasa District and Lumbila, Ifungu, Nsisi, Makonde, Lupingu and Manda ports in Njombe.
The Lake Nyasa ports are servicing cargo like iron ore, fertilizer, cement, wood, cassava, fish and other mixed cargos.