European ship building firm enters EA market

Saturday October 12 2013

By ISAAC KHISA The EastAfrican

The Netherlands ship building firm Veka Group in partnership with Kampala’s Ronbag Real Estates Ltd, plan to build a shipyard in Jinja, eastern Uganda at a cost of €1.15 million ($1.56 million).

Policy officer at the Netherlands’ embassy in Kampala Stephen Bayite said that the shipyard will have the capacity to build a variety of vessels including oil tankers, high speed passenger catamarans, containers as well as bulk and dry cargo vessels. It will also serve as a maintenance and repair facility.

“The shipyard, with permanent representation from the lead partner Veka Group, will charge less for repair works than what foreign firms without a permanent presence in Uganda charge,” said Mr Bayite.

He added that the shipyard will boost water transport on Lake Victoria, and thereby promote trade in the region.

Mr Bayite said the Veka Group also plans to set up a second company to operate its containership, which will transport goods across countries that share Lake Victoria — Kenya Uganda and Tanzania — once construction of the shipyard slated for mid-2015 is complete.

Veka Group’s entry into the region is set to enhance competition in the marine sector.

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In Kenya, Veka Group will compete with the Southern Engineering Company Ltd, which is based at the port of Mombasa. The firm has been offering marine engineering and logistics solutions, ship building, vessel repair and maintenance services across the region since 1957.

In Tanzania, the firm will face competition from Danish firm Johs Gram-Hanssen A/S, which entered into a deal with the local shipyard Songoro Marine Transport six years ago.

The Mwanza-based shipyard’s portfolio includes ferries, fishery inspection vessels, and various patrol boats, as well as passenger vessels on Lake Victoria.

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