On October 24, President Yoweri Museveni participated in the ground-breaking of two flagship projects financed by the European Union: the rehabilitation of the Tororo-Gulu Railway Line and the construction of the Gulu Logistics Hub.
The Uganda Railways Cooperation, with support from the Government of Uganda and the European Union, started the rehabilitation of the railway Tororo-Gulu in March 2020. The total project cost including supervision and resettlement action plan among others, amounts to Euros 47.6million, of which the Government of Uganda is contributing Euros 26.1 million (113 billion Uganda Shillings) and the European Union Euros 21.5 million (93 billion Uganda Shillings). The rehabilitation is expected to be completed in the second half of 2023.
The Tororo-Gulu Railway Line 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. The line fell out of service more than two decades ago, due to actions of war by the Lord's Resistance Army, as well as facing unfair competition by overloaded trucks. The rehabilitation of the Tororo-Gulu Railway takes place simultaneously with the construction of the Gulu Logistics Hub.
TradeMark East Africa together with Ministry of Works and Transport and Uganda Railways Cooperation started construction of the Gulu Logistics Hub in March 2020, a Euro 7.76 million (about 33 billion Uganda Shillings) project, supported by the EU (Euros 5 million) and the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO--Euros 1.76 million). Major features of the hub include: container and break-bulk, handling and storage facilities with a handling capacity of more than 500,000 per year, space for stakeholders dealing with freight transport (freight forwarders, shippers and transport operators) and the provision of accompanying services such as customs inspections, tax payment, maintenance and repair, banking and information communication technology. The construction of the hub is expected to be completed within 18 months.
The European Union is also funding a Euros 1.1 million Technical Assistance support to the Uganda Railway Corporation, to provide advice on institutional, human capacity, development infrastructure, rolling stock, operations and maintenance strategies.
"The roads are for small cargo and that is for the short term. The real medicine to cargo transportation is the railway. When you transport cargo by road, it becomes very expensive. Transporting a 40ft. container from Kampala to Mombasa by road using a lorry would cost USD 3600. But, if you transport the same cargo by railway, you spend about USD 1800, which is almost half when compared to road transport," President Museveni said.
"These two projects will have a major impact on the facilitation of trade by reducing import and export transportation costs, thereby contributing to regional integration and strengthen Uganda's competitiveness within the East African Community. The Gulu Logistics Hub, together with the Tororo-Gulu Railway Line, will be a key import/export platform not just for Northern Uganda but also for South Sudan and eastern DRC. The project will have a spill-over impact on private sector growth and on in investment promotion. It will also enhance the key value chains of Northern Uganda," said EU Ambassador Attilio Pacifici.
The EU has been Uganda's partner in the transport sector for decades. This partnership has seen the rehabilitation of the bulk of the Northern Corridor from the Kenyan border to the Rwandan border. Other flagship projects include the Kampala Northern Bypass, the future Kampala Jinja Expressway project and several roads in the Northern region financed under the Development Initiative for Northern Uganda (DINU) project.