What you need to know:
- The revelation follows a connection of the Standard Gauge Railway to the Metre Gauge Railway in Mount Longonot, Naivasha
Kenya Ports Authority has said transit time for goods from Mombasa to Kampala will reduce from the current four days to 12 hours.
The revelation follows a connection of the Standard Gauge Railway to the Metre Gauge Railway in Mount Longonot, Naivasha.
Speaking during celebrations to mark 25 years of Kenya Ports Authority in Uganda, Mr Edward Kamau, the Kenya Ports Authority general manager in charge general services, said they hope that the railway connection will reduce travel time for cargo from Mombasa to Kampala to 12 hours.
“The balance of trade is changing in favour of Uganda because of the intermodal logistics for East Africa. The plan is to connect the Standard Gauge Railway to the Metre Gauge in Naivasha. It will take 12 hours for cargo from Mombasa to reach Kampala,” he said, noting that 25 years ago when Kenya Ports Authority opened an office in Kampala, the volume of cargo destined for Uganda stood at 13 percent in 1996, but today, Uganda commands 30 percent of the cargo at Mombasa, becoming the second biggest user of the Mombasa Port after Kenya.
Mr Julius Rubagumya, the Uganda Revenue Authority assistant commissioner customs external relations, said in 2014, a World Bank study showed that Uganda was very uncompetitive in the region because it would take 18 days for cargo to arrive from Mombasa to Kampala.
This was, he said, worsened by various check points between Mombasa and Kampala, which forced URA to establish an office in Mombasa.
The office, he said, as a result reduced transit time to four days, noting that the connection of the Standard Gauge Railway to the Meter Gauge in Naivasha should be good news for Uganda.
“I can without a doubt confirm that with the developments in the region. We contribute 25 percent of the cargo in Mombasa and we are commanding more than 80 percent of transit cargo in Momnasa, When the Kisumu port is ready, we shall use Lake Victoria, like MV Uhuru is already transporting fuel and MV Pamba is coming soon” he said.
Asked whether Uganda and Kenya were serious trading partners given that products such as milk, sugar and fish have been blocked, Mr Kiema Kilonzo the Kenyan High Commissioner in Uganda, said this was an issue that would soon be resolved.
“Non-tariff barriers [don’t mean differences]. They are always resolved at bilateral level,” he said, adding that the increased volume of trade between Uganda and Kenya, which has expanded exponentially, is something which cannot be ignored.