Lake Victoria freight vessel aims to cut travel time by up to three days

Image of the MV Mpungu

The Mpungu

22nd February 2024

By: Irma Venter

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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The Mpungu freight vessel has made its debut on Lake Victoria, in East Africa.

The Mpungu will be Lake Victoria’s first scheduled roll-on/roll-off freight vessel, addressing the need for a reliable freight service to facilitate regional and international trade.

The vessel was constructed over a period of 21 months and was launched from the purpose-built Entebbe shipbuilding facility of SECO Marine, an Alpha Group company. 

Mpungu will now undergo a period of lake trials before its maiden voyage in April. 

The 96-m-long vessel has the capacity to handle up to 1 000 t of containerised cargo – the equivalent of 21 truck trailers. 

The vessel was commissioned by InfraCo Africa, part of the Private Infrastructure Development Group, and regional logistics company Grindrod.

The project also benefitted from a European Union-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund grant for market and technical studies, and legal and regulatory support.

Grindrod will operate the Mpungu, offering freight carriers access to a scheduled freight service between Uganda and Tanzania. 

The vessel will cross Victoria Lake in an anticipated time of 18 hours, compared with the current journey around the lake by congested regional roads, which can take between three and four days.

While preventing spoilage of fresh produce, the significantly reduced journey times are also expected to boost trade.

InfraCo Africa regional asset management lead Rodney Seema says the vessel’s launch marks the culmination of many years of work by all parties to develop, finance, design and build the Mpungu.

“We are excited to witness the economic impact that access to a safe, scheduled freight service will bring for Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and the wider region.”


Edited by Creamer Media Reporter




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