Uganda’s railroads agency forecasts a surge in cargo operations as it develops an alternative transit route through neighboring Tanzania, and reduces reliance on the Kenyan corridor.
Uganda Railways Corporation’s monthly average freight is projected to more than double to as high as 60,000 tons within three years from about 25,000 tons, the agency’s acting managing director, Stephen Wakasenza, said in an interview in the capital, Kampala.
Cargo through Tanzania and carried over Lake Victoria will increase by 116% to about 13,000 tons monthly in the period, he said.
The Tanzanian route “is critical and we are taking necessary steps to have it operational,” Wakasenza said.
Landlocked Uganda is looking to increase the amount of transit cargo on its rail tracks from a paltry 3% of the total, and diversify routes to reduce the cost of transport.
Most of the cargo that’s destined for or goes through Uganda to other destinations, including South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, comes via Kenya’s Mombasa port.
Uganda will repair 20 wagons which it will deploy to handle shipments from the lake, according to Wakasenza. Tanzania, for its part, plans to start using two wagon ferries MV Mwanza and MV Umoja to further bolster transit capacity over Africa’s largest lake shared by Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, he said.