Tuesday, January 18, 2022
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Gulu logistics hub promises to shift to railway part of trade traffic between Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan and DRC

A logistics hub under construction in Gulu will transform the Ugandan city in a strategic logistics point for trade between Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by shifting part of road traffic to railway, as planned under Vision 2040, the strategic master plan for Uganda’s development which aims at developing by 2040 a multi-lane standard gauge railway system with high speed trains for both passenger transport and cargo freights linking Uganda to the Mombasa (Kenya), Dar-es-salaam and Tanga (Tanzania) and Djibouti ports.

The Gulu logistics hub is jointly funded by the EU and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) and is set for completion by the end of 2022. Once construction works will be finished, the Gulu logistics hub is expected to lower transport costs and trade barriers faced by traders moving goods between the two countries. At the moment, a two-kilometre access road connecting the hub to the Gulu-Juba road is still under construction, and plans are ongoing for linking the hub with the Gulu-Tororo railway line. The Gulu logistics hub aims to serve northern Uganda, South Sudan and the DR Congo by ensuring that cargo imported through the Kenyan port of Mombasa will move straight to Gulu, from where it will be dispatched to DRC and South Sudan without passing through Kampala or Jinja, where traders have to pay extra costs of warehousing.

The hub will act as a center for consolidation of goods transported via road from northern Uganda, South Sudan and DR Congo, by putting at disposal of traders a series of container and break-bulk handling and storage facilities to be built within its boundaries. Additional on-site services such as customs inspections, tax payment, maintenance and repair, as well as banking and fast IT connections are part of the services to be located inside the facility, aimed at streamlining clearance of goods.

Once arrived at the hub, goods will be loaded on trains via a railway siding connected to the Gulu-Tororo railway line, a single-track line which is currently under refurbishment, after having been out of service for the past two decades. The Gulu -Tororo railway will allow goods to be transported up to the border town of Malaba, a border crossing point between Uganda and Kenya located about 13 Km. west of Tororo, which has been designated to operate as a One Stop Border Post. From Malaba, goods will be transported to the port of Mombasa through the SGR (Standard Gauge Railway) via Nakuru.

Similarly, goods from Kenya will be transported from Mombasa by rail and then picked up from the Gulu hub for last mile delivery at destinationThe project is an example of integrated multimodal transport networks in East Africa which aims at shifting to railway part of trade that occurs between Uganda, Kenya, South Sudan and DRC, with the aim of reducing transport costs of cargo (it is estimated that transport costs per tonne of containerized cargo will drop of about 20 per cent, with increasing cargo trucks’ round trip time increasing of about 30 per cent)Compared to road transport, rail transport is cheaper, offers quicker transit time and reduces road consumption.




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