A new ferry which is set to ease operations at the Likoni crossing channel has started its journey from Turkey to Kenya.
Nation has learnt that MV Jambo has already been loaded onto a ship at the Ozata shipyard in Turkey on its way to Kenya.
The ferry will improve services at the Likoni channel which handles more than 300,000 people daily.
President Uhuru Kenyatta will launch MV Jambo in July as part of his administration’s efforts to improve infrastructure as he seeks to boost his re-election bid.
In March the government revived services at the Mtongwe channel after a 10-year lull.
Kenya Ferry Services (KFS) Managing Director Bakari Gowa has promised to deliver efficient service at the crossing channel.
KFS has been working hard to improve services and its ability to fix challenges was witnessed during flash floods in May whose percolation destabilised water density at Likoni.
A second ferry, MV Safari is expected to be delivered in November, according to the KFS management.
The vessels were purchased from Turkey at a cost of Sh1.9 billion and will bring to seven the total number of ferries at the Likoni crossing.
“Our team is in Turkey to inspect the progress and the construction which is complete for the first ferry. The shipment of MV Jambo will start early June and by July 27 we expect it to be at our premises. MV Safari will be delivered November 3,” said the KFS boss in a past interview.
According to designs seen by Nation, each ferry will have a seating capacity of 1,391 passengers and a designated area for disabled people, the elderly and expectant women.
Currently, commuters – including the sick – must stand while travelling in some of the ferries including MV Nyayo, MV Harambee and MV Kilindini.
The new vessels, with a capacity to carry 64 vehicles, will also have two rescue and emergency boats on-board, the plans show.
Unlike the old ferries, the new ones will also have washrooms for passengers.
“In the new ferries, passengers will be on the upper deck and vehicles in the lower one. We expect the August and December holidays to [be enjoyable] as we will have free flow of services,” Mr Gowa said.