By Sailu Bah
Foroyaa has received numerous complaints from passengers and drivers at the Banjul/Barra ferry terminals, who said the slow process to cross the route undermines not only their time which is being wasted at the Ferry but also their business. Foroyaa has made several efforts to get the reaction from the GPA without avail. However, the Public relations officer of the Gambia Ports Authority has eventually informed the paper of the reasons for the delays at the terminals.
The Public relations officer of Gambia Ports Authority, Mr. Ansu Gibba told Foroyaa that the ferry named Kanilai was being subjected to total maintenance. Asked when they expect it to complete, he said it is expected to complete in December 2014, or Early January 2015.
The GPA PRO, Mr.Ansu Gibba, made this revelation in his office in Banjul on Wednesday, 26th November 2014. Mr. Gibba indicated that Kanilai would have a brand new engine with good welding and repainted. He said that the new machines in the ferry would enable the ferry to move faster like Johe.
Asked when the maintenance work started, Gibba said it started since last month and expressed hope that it gets done by the end of December 2014, or early part of January 2015.
Mr. Gibba cited a press release earlier made by the GPA informing the general public about the issue of the Ferry being stopped, and all truck drivers were advised to use the Trans -Gambia Highway in order to avoid delay or waste of there time, due to the slowness of traffic at the Banjul/Barra terminals.
Gibba said the demand is higher than the supply as at now, but said it is expected to end when the maintenance on the Kanilai Ferry is completed. He explained that a lot of vehicles are diverting to Yeli-Tenda/BambaTenda crossing because only one ferry is operating which has a limited capacity for vehicles. He said people were adviced to use the Trans-Gambia highway.
It could be recalled that the government of The Republic of China (Taiwan), through its Banjul Embassy, presented four new man engines and propulsion and steering systems to officials of The Gambia Ports Authority (GPA), earmarked for the Kanilai Ferry, which is one of the few ferries plying the Banjul-Barra crossing point.
This was aimed at enhancing the capacity of the GPA to be able to deliver safe, efficient and a more reliable ferry service for the continued socio-economic development of The Gambia. The gesture came barely one month after a similar presentation of engines to the GPA, all meant to improve service delivery in ferry services.