Ministry to boost Central Line infrastructure to ferry Ugandan cargo

05Jul 2019
Francis Kajubi
The Guardian
Ministry to boost Central Line infrastructure to ferry Ugandan cargo

UGANDAN cargo transiting through Dar es Salaam Port to Mwanza through Central Railway and thereafter cross Lake Victoria into Uganda will by end next year arrive on schedule with consignees able to track the same via an electronic system.

A passenger ship at Mwanza Port. File photo.

Permanent Secretary at Ministry of Communication, Transport and Works, Dr Leonard Chamuriho said in Dar es Salaam last week that Tanzania Railways Corporation is currently undertaking a Tanzania Intermodal and Rail Project (TIRP) which involves upgrading the Central Railway Line.

“Under the this project, rehabilitation of the railway line from Dar es Salaam to Isaka Dry Port in Shinyanga is being undertaken, three new locomotives and 44 flatbed wagons will be purchased and two other locomotives reconditioned,”  Dr Chamuriho said.

Speaking to stakeholders of Central Corridor Transit Transport Facilitation meeting in Dar es Salaam, he pointed out that the TIRP will also involve installation of a cargo tracking system along the railway network from Dar Port to allow cargo owners track their goods.

“We want to improve efficiency along the Central Railway Line to enable Ugandan goods travel across Lake Victoria instead of going by road which is very far,” he added noting that the distance between Dar Port and Mtukula Border post is 1,780 kilometres compared to Mwanza to Entebbe at over 1,300kms.

Due to poor infrastructure Dar es Salaam and Mwanza in the past ten years, the movement of cargo destined for Kampala has been by road through Mutukula border post.

Dr Chamuriho said Marine Services Company Limited (MSCL) which has only one ferry for wagons with capacity of 19 wagons or 760 tons and capable of doing a maximum of eight voyages per month, has plans of building one wagon ferry with capacity of 5,000 tons in this fiscal year.

In a report by Central Corridor Transit Transport Facilitation Agency, it stated that the number of wagons operated by both TRC and Uganda Railway Corporation are below the demanded 375 wagons that can carry 15,000 tons per month.

However, the average cargo throughput for Mwanza Port is 7,000 tons per month as per its June to November last year with transit cargo contributing 35.4 percent of the total.

In a joint report released last week covering a period year ended December 2018 by CCTTFA, Ports Authorities from the two countries, Revenue Authorities, Railways Corporations; MSCL, Ministry of Works and Transport of the two counties and the business community, highlights some shortfalls on the railway and Mwanza port’s capacity to handle demand by Uganda business community.

To address the challenges, Ministry of Works officials from the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding in July 2017, pledging to improve railway transport, ports and inland waterways across the corridor to facilitate trade.