President Museveni has commissioned rehabilitation works for theTororo-Gulu Railway line and the construction of the Gulu logistics Hub in Gulu City.
Speaking shortly after the ground-breaking ceremony on Saturday, the President said the collapse of Uganda Railway network in the country like other sectors of government including the army was a result of bad policies of the past regimes adopted from colonial system.
“Once a pillar of the state like the army is built based on ideology, streamlined policy and in a clever-way, sectarianism tendencies are eliminated and destroyed,” he said.
The President said the train, which last reached its terminal in northern Uganda in August 1986, will be revived in a more concrete way because government considers it as major infrastructure priority.
“Railway transport is cheaper than road transport. For example, the cost of transporting a 40 feet container of goods from Mombasa Port to Kampala is US$3600 compared to railway transportation, which is US$1800. It will be even much faster and cheaper once the Standard Gauge Railway is constructed,” he said.
The Ministry of Works and Transport in partnership with the Ministry of Finance Planning and Economic Development and Uganda Railways Corporation, with support from the European Union is implementing a project for the Rehabilitation of the Tororo-Gulu Metre gauge railway line (375km).
The project is part of a bigger programme, the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) co-funded by the government of Uganda and the European Union and is linked to the project for development of the Gulu Logistics Hub/Gulu Inland Container Depot also funded by the EU and DFID through TradeMark East Africa.
The Tororo –Gulu railway will provide a link between the port of Mombasa and Northern and Eastern Uganda, as well as South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This support will go a long way in diverting cargo from road to rail which is cheaper, more environmentally friendly because of less emission of green gasses and ultimately saving roads from early failure and therefore saving the country from maintaining expensive roads.
President Museveni said that railway transport is safer because it saves on road network repairs caused by heavy trucks, adding that government is also considering exploiting water transport on Lake Victoria between Kisumu in Kenya into Uganda ports of Kasensero-Bukakata that link to Rwanda and the DRC.
The Minister of Works and Transport, General Katumba Wamala said for the rehabilitation of Tororo-Gulu railway line, the EU has contributed Euros 21.5 million while the Uganda government contributed Shs113 billion and Sogea-Satom together with NEC will execute the rehabilitation works and expects the project to be completed by February 2023.
He said transport and logistics costs account for about 50% of the value of goods and services to Uganda.
Once complete, the railway line will benefit the community in northern Uganda, South Sudan and DRC and reduce the costs on the goods that are currently bonded in the warehouse in Kampala.
The EU Ambassador Attilio Pacifici emphasized that the EU total contribution of more than Shs 120bn shillings to the project is a grant to the Uganda government.
Gulu Logistics Hub
The logistics hub is located on a 24.1 acres owned by Uganda Railways Corporation and is located in Layibi division, Gulu City.
The Gulu Logistics Hub is expected to reduce barriers to trade for both Northern Uganda and the neighbouring countries of South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The Gulu Logistics Hub (GLH) will serve the trade corridors of Kampala – Gulu – Elegu/Nimule – Juba Trade Corridor; and Gulu – Pakwach Goli/Pader/Lira/Vurra DRC Trade Corridor. The hub will be able to handle more than 200,000 containers per annum.