Regional rail operator Rift Valley Railways (RVR) is set to change the transport and logistics landscape within East Africa after rebuilding and reopening the Tororo-Gulu-Pakwach railway line to northern Uganda.
The 500km railway track which was last in operation in 1993 is now open for business following recently completed repairs on the track, bridges and culverts that had been destroyed following two decades of disuse.
The rehabilitation was fully funded by RVR at a cost of $2 million to facilitate freight cargo access by rail to northern Uganda and allow much easier transhipment by road to Juba in South Sudan and Eastern DRC.
The first train carrying steel imports for Juba from the port of Mombasa was received in Gulu today (September 14th). Spedag Interfreight, a leading pan-African logistics company, will transship the goods by road to Juba.
RVR’s external affairs director, Cosma Gatere said: “This new service will play a vital role in promoting regional integration and trade by accessing areas hitherto closed to rail transportation. Working with logistics partners and our own logistics subsidiary, East Africa Rail and Handling, we will provide end-to-end transport and delivery solutions for customers in this important part of East Africa”.
Spedag Interfreight Managing Director Heinz Mueller applauded RVR for the move saying that by re-opening the northern line, the company had made a big step forward in boosting growth of businesses in and near northern Uganda. “We are excited by the logistical options the opening of the line presents through combinations of rail and last-mile road delivery both for imports and exports” he Mr. Mueller said. “We will now be able to provide more efficient cargo transport to customers along routes in northern Uganda, eastern DRC and South Sudan, and avoid long trips by roads”.
RVR will be expanding its presence in Gulu with a view to making the town a logistical hub for its operations in northern Uganda and the surrounding regions.