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Uganda turns focus onto lake transport

by biasharadigest
ANTHONY KITIMO

By ANTHONY KITIMO
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Uganda will rehabilitate Port Bell as it works on developing water transport on Lake Victoria, says Ministry of Works and Transport Permanent Secretary, Bageya Waiswa.

Speaking in Mombasa on the sidelines of the 48th Northern Corridor executive committee meeting, Mr Waiswa said Kampala is already seeking out investors.

“As we focus on road and rail transport, Uganda is at the final stage of reaching an agreement with a number private partners to rehabilitate our Lake Victoria harbours to ensure that we reignite the triangular trade between Kisumu, Jinja and Mwanza in Tanzania with oil trade anticipated to be a major source of income,” he said.

Uganda is already building a four-million-tonne barge to evacuate oil from the Kisumu jetty. The investment will increase East African intra-trade after the Kenya Pipeline Company launched a $57-million pipeline few years ago.

Mr Waiswa was reacting to news of Kenya’s dredging and expansion of the Kisumu port in line with the Kenya Ports Authority 2035 Master plan to accommodate docking of large vessels handling regional cargo.

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The port dredging, which is expected to start in the first quarter this year, is expected increase cargo volumes handled at the port from the current 32,000 tonnes to 95,000 tonnes in 2022, and to more than 230,000 tonnes by 2035 in line with KPA’s master plan.

Kisumu port has already been rehabilitated at a cost of $300 million and made its first oil shipment to Uganda in December 2019 before it was officially commissioned, a quick positive outcome of the revamp process.

The revitalisation of the lake’s transport is expected to confer substantial socio-economic benefits for Kisumu County on the Kenyan side, Uganda and Tanzania as well as Rwanda, DR Congo and South Sudan.

Lack of supporting infrastructure has been cited as a major roadblock to the operationalisation of Kisumu port.

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