Uganda’s cabinet has approved a proposal to finance the refurbishment of the Kampala-Malaba meter gauge railway project, Chimp Corps report.
The Uganda Media Centre said in a statement on Tuesday rehabilitating the railway line would “accelerate Uganda’s competitiveness by providing efficient freight and passenger services to country.”
This, said government, would eventually lead to “reduced costs of doing business, generation of revenue to sustain own operations, improved incomes and a better life for the population.”
The project is expected to cost Shs 1.4 trillion.
The development comes at a time the country is grappling with high costs of road transport.
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.
Transport and logistics costs account for about 50% of the value of goods and services to Uganda.
President Museveni recently launched the Tororo-Gulu Railway line and the construction of the Gulu logistics Hub in Gulu City.
Museveni 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.
The 273 km line between Kampala (Uganda) and Malaba (Kenya) is a key route for Uganda exports through the port of Mombasa in Kenya.
This line passes through 9 administrative districts namely, Tororo, Butaleja, Iganga, Mayuge, Jinja, Buikwe, Mukono, Wakiso and Kampala.
The refurbished Malaba-Kampala railway line 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.
Government, 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.
President Museveni said 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.