With the frequency of the ferry service and freight capacity significantly reduced, passengers transporting cargo via ferry to and from Georgetown and Mabaruma are facing a number of difficulties.The MV Kimbia, a passenger and cargo vessel, has been docked at the Guyana National Industrial Company (GNIC) shipyard for repairs and restoration since November last year.The MV Kimbia, a passenger and cargo vessel, was docked at the Guyana National Industrial Company (GNIC) shipyard for repairs and restoration since NovemberThe MV Kimbia originally plied the Georgetown to Mabaruma route.Earlier this year, an announcement was made that 90 per cent of the repair works on the vessel were completed and the ferry would soon return to plying the route.However, the motor vessel remains docked in the shipyard for repairs to the defective engine. Junior Public Infrastructure Minister Annette Ferguson explained to Guyana Times on Sunday that the authorities were considering replacing the ferry rather than rehabilitating the engine.The MV Kimbia is one of the oldest vessels in the maritime public transport system and has served the Transport & Harbour Department for more than 70 years.In the meantime, MV Lady Northcote, which originally plied only the Georgetown to Port Kaituma (Region One) route, has been filling in for MV Kimbia.MV Lady Northcote, a much smaller vessel than MV Kimbia, has been plying the Georgetown- Mabaruma route once a month. When the MV Kimbia was in operation, passengers had access to the ferry service every fortnight. With access to the ferry service now limited, it is sheer confusion among passengers to get their cargo onto the vessel.In some cases, passengers have complained of discriminatory practices and unfair treatment in transporting their goods.Several individuals told this newspaper that on a number of occasions, when they would arrive at the wharf with the intention of having their goods shipped, the supervisor on duty would inform them that there was no space available on the ferry.However, they contended that this was not true since they have witnessed persons who came after them would be facilitated.“By time I reach down there, they say the ferry done full already. Then I see they got certain people they calling and telling them to bring they goods but when I go, they say it done full. The lady, the supervisor, does tell me that they ain’t got space on the boat,” said an angered Mark Persaud, a businessman who plies his trade in Kumaka, Region One (Barima-Waini).June Payne, another disgruntled person, asserted that she was forced to take a private ferry since every time she went to the wharf to transport her goods, the supervisor would always declare the ferry was filled.She too contended that persons coming after her would get access to the ferry.“She have favouritism with the big shippers them. Only certain people thing can go on the boat,” Payne expressed. Guyana Times understands that the alternative means of transporting cargo – the private boats are far more expensive than the average man can afford.Meanwhile, across at Port Kaituma, the situation is a bit calmer. Though access to the ferry service has also been reduced, passengers have no trouble utilising alternative means of transport, since the cost to travel privately does not vary much from what is offered by the ferry service.It currently remains uncertain when or if the MV Kimbia will return to operation.