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Docking Piers Rotting Away

Piers currently in an appalling state include the Buwaya pier for the Buwaya ferry, the Buvuma – Kiyindi pier for the Buvuma ferry, Bukasa pier and that for residents in Namayingo and Sigulu islands. They are either broken, submerged by water or neglected.
Water flooding over MV Kalangala's Nakiwogo Landing site

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Several docking piers on the shores of Lake Victoria are in a sorry state.

A pier is a raised structure in a water body typically supported by piles or pillars that allows vessels to dock.

The piers are supposed to be constructed to enable both passengers to load on to a marine vessel and for cargo to be loaded and offloaded from a cargo boat or any marine vessel that docks at the shores of a water body.

However, all piers on Lake Victoria remain in a sorry state except the Waterfront pier, the Bukakata – Bugoma docking piers and the Luzira pier that is under renovation.

The Piers currently in an appalling state include the Buwaya pier for the Buwaya ferry, the Buvuma – Kiyindi pier for the Buvuma ferry, Bukasa pier and that for residents in Namayingo and Sigulu islands.   They are either broken, submerged by water or neglected.

Some of the docking piers currently are not utilized and no marine vessels dock on them.

For instance, the docking piers in Kitobo and Bukasa, Kalangala district are not utilized since they were put in place in 2008.  Others are Gaba docking pier and the Jinja pier.

The state of the piers affects the stability of a marine vessel when it docks since such piers help vessels to remain stable after docking.  

In June 2019, MV Kalangala was forced to go off the Nakiwogo docking pier after strong winds pushed the Marine vessel off the shoreline. The Vessel was not tied on poles at the shoreline. 

Some of the piers are supposed to be renovated and upgraded by the Ministry of Works and Transport under the Directorate of Marine Transport while others are supposed to be renovated by the Uganda National Roads Authority-UNRA. 

UNRA spokesperson Allan Kyobe Ssempebwa says that there is need to restore all docking piers under its control. He however says, some piers are on private land and processes to acquire the land before upgrades and repairs of the sites are underway. 

 //Cue in: “We are basically …

Cue out: … secure that land.”//

In the financial year 2018/2019, government offered up to 500 million shillings to National Oil Distributors, the operators of MV Kalangala to repair and upgrade the Nakiwogo docking pier.

However, residents at Nakiwogo landing site blocked the development as the developer sought to extend the boundaries of the pier. 

The Minister of State for Works Edward Katumba Wamala says government is earmarking resources to revamp water transport and in so doing all docking piers will be revamped.

Aggrey Ojiambo, a Marine Operator under the Uganda Railway Corporation says that the poor state of the docking piers is a major setback in the development of the marine industry In East Africa.

“We shouldn’t just look at buying and repairing Marine Vessels. We should think about where they park and land for loading and off-loading if we are to boost trade through the use of quick marine transport,” says Ojiambo  

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