Monday, May 19, 2008

Increased traffic reported as ‘Canawaima’ service boom forecast

Increased traffic reported as ‘Canawaima’ service boom forecast
By Wendella Davidson
Guyana Chronicle news item, Monday 19 May 2008

CANAWAIMA Management Company J.V., which operates the ferry between Guyana and Suriname, has reported an increase in both vehicular and passenger traffic, last year, from the Moleson Creek terminal, Corentyne, Berbice, as compared to 2006.

Statistics obtained by the Guyana Chronicle revealed that, at December 31, 2007, 48,273 passengers used the crossing, more than the 38,628 who travelled the previous year, on M.V. ‘Canawaima’, from Moleson Creek to South Drain in Suriname.

Of the number, 23,357 were arriving at Moleson Creek and 24,916 were departing, in comparison to the 2006 recording of 18,797 and 19,831, respectively.

The vehicles using the vessel from the Guyana side in 2007 numbered 5,024, of which 2,536 were incoming and 2,488 were going to Suriname.

The 2006 data indicated 3,897, representing 1,947 that came and 1,950 which departed.

For the period under review, the peak months for incoming passengers were July, August, October and December, with August showing the largest number, 3,118, while the most people went out in January, July, August and December. August was, again, the month with the highest number of departures - 3,275.

The state-of-the-art Canawaima, which can transport 20 passenger cars, together with cargo and people, takes approximately 25 minutes to make the journey.

The Guyanese Director/Secretary of the managing firm, Mr. Ronald Charles, said there are still concerns on the Guyana side about the expected May/June rains and what would be the situation in Suriname, even as works are ongoing on the construction of a fair-weather roadway from South Drain to Nickerie.

He recalled the nightmarish scenario that prevailed during 1999 and 2000, when the service had to be halted for a while because of the impassable state of the route.

Even when a temporary arrangement was in place, from Springlands, Corentyne to Nickerie, Charles said it proved uneconomical, as only passengers could have been accommodated.

He said, though, indications are that, when the construction of the road is completed, the usage will rise to the extent that two round trips daily would be necessary, instead of the one currently undertaken.

Regarding the condition of the Guyana infrastructure, Charles said, in addition to some minor repairs to the terminal building, some gutters need to be replaced and there are hopes that some of the lights would be replaced with modern ones and barracks built for the security personnel.

The three and a half miles access to Moleson Creek is slated for rehabilitation, under a US$34M contract for upgrading 87 miles from New Amsterdam, also in Berbice, that would be executed in two phases.

The first phase, which began in 2006, is scheduled to be finished in July and the second would take 20 months.

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